Preparing for Natural Disasters: Pet Edition
After Hurricane Harvey hit last autumn, thousands of pets were thought to be displaced or missing. The aftermath was devastating to many people and homes, but also animals living in the area. Now, with the recent floodings in Maryland and hurricane season underway, there’s no doubt that many pet guardians are wondering about the safety of their animal companions.
In the past, victims have been told to leave their pets behind. Most Red Cross shelters do not accept pets, and at the time of Hurricane Katrina, there were no federal or state laws addressing the safety of pets when planning for disasters.
Though victims of Hurricane Katrina were told that they could not bring their dogs and cats with them to shelters, a poll from the Fritz Institute found that 44% of the people who refused to evacuate did so because they wanted to remain with their pets. In response to the aftermath of Katrina, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act was born. It requires that response plans “account for the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals before, during and following a major disaster or emergency.”
If staying behind is too dangerous for you, then it’s too dangerous for your pets! Here are some ways for pet guardians to prepare for a disaster:
- Research ahead of time to be ready for what may come! Natural disasters differ depending on your geographic area.
- Keep your pet close by. If your cat is indoor/outdoor, do not let them outside ahead of extreme weather conditions.
- Have an exit plan including a designated and pet-inclusive meeting place upon evacuation.
- Secure a rescue alert sticker on every outside door. This will tell rescuers how many animals are in the home who need to be saved. You can contact Alley Cat Rescue for stickers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Have a photo of your pet readily available in case they become lost.
- Microchip your pet and keep the contact information up to date.
- Make a safety kit for your animal(s), which may include: leash, carrier, food, bottled water, medication, copy of medical records, bandages and your pet’s favorite toy or blanket.
Articles originally posted by AlleyCatRescue Like us on Facebook!Alley Cat Rescue (ACR) works to protect cats on several levels: locally through rescue, rehabilitation and adoption of cats and nationally through a network of Cat Action Teams, called CAT. ACR is dedicated to the health, well-being and welfare of all cats: domestic, stray, abandoned and feral. Help the ACR kitties by making a donation or shopping online! http://www.saveacat.org/donate.html