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LAKE CHARLES, La.(WGNO)— Many residents fled town before Hurricane Ida swept across Louisiana, many pets were abandoned in the process.

Humane Society is offering a $1000 reward to identify the person(s) who may have abandoned an elderly, blind dog on the side of the interstate.

During the recent mass exodus of people fleeing from the projected path of Hurricane Ida late last month, the Louisiana State Police started to receive calls from motorists, alerting them that pets were being abandoned on the side of Interstate West, going toward Lake Charles. The State Police reached out to Rita Bingham, the 85-year-old grandmother, who is also the founder and Director of the Humane Society of West Louisiana. 

According to the Humane Society, a driver spotted a matted dog near the ramp going toward the town of Duhon. He rescued the dog before he could run off and asked another couple to take him to Ms. Bingham. Ms. Bingham accepted custody of the frightened canine and soon discovered that he was blind and also hard of hearing. A health check revealed that the dog was also suffering from advanced heartworm disease.

Rita named the dog Jr.

Photo Courtesy: The Humane Society of Louisiana

Jr. wasn’t the only dog who was most likely abandoned during the evacuation. Ms. Bingham and her grandson,  Matthew Blout, picked up close to three dozen dogs, cats, and kittens along a stretch of I-10 going toward Lake Charles in the days leading up to Ida’s landfall. The Humane Society of West Louisiana is caring for and providing medical care for each, and they are being adopted to suitable owners.

To bring attention to the plight of JR and the widespread problems that they have uncovered and documented, the Humane Society of Louisiana is offering a $1000 reward for information that will identify JR’s previous owner(s). 

Leads and tips can be called at 1-888-6-HUMANE or sent by email to

We want JR’s story to illustrate and represent how we should never treat a pet. The owner who may have dropped Jr. on the side of the Interstate, or allowed him to wander off, and the hundreds of others who deliberately left their pets behind, we want you to know that these animals all suffered from trauma and fear or died in some cases and deserved so much better.”

Jeff Dorson, HSLA Director