Are You—and Your Pets—Prepared?

April’s tornados that tore through the south, May’s floods along the Mississippi Delta…do you have your pet prepared for natural disasters? Having a well-organized disaster plan that includes your companion animals can prevent your companion from becoming a heart-breaking statistic.

Papers:

Keep vaccination and microchip records and an up-to-date list of hotel and motels in your targeted evacuation area that allow pets with the “people papers” you would grab on your way out the door. Many hotels, motels and temporary shelters require these if you need them to accommodate Fluffy during evacuations.

Carriers:

Have carriers and leashes accessible and always bring them when you evacuate. Even if it’s not Fido’s favorite place to be, most evacuation sites that allow animals will require that animals be in carriers or at least on leashes.

Food and water:

Keep a travel pack of food and water that you can grab on your way out the door. If supplies get low at local stores before and after a disaster, you won’t be stuck with a hungry kitty.

Identification:

Your animal should have a collar and ID tag on at all times anyway, but this is particularly important during evacuation situations. Too, be sure that the tag contains a cell phone number, if you have one, so that you can be reached while away from your home should you and your companions be separated for any reason.

Don’t ever leave your animals behind:

Don’t ever leave your animals behind. If you are without transportation and would, therefore, have to rely on others to help you evacuate, including city owned/run transportation systems, be sure to call before a disaster occurs to inquire about their “people-with-pets” evacuation regulations. Be sure to get their policy in writing, and keep it with your other important papers.

Don’t ever leave your animal once you have evacuated:

Sadly, “dog-nappers” and “bunchers” (slime balls who steal animals to sell to testing facilities) don’t take time off during disasters, so don’t leave your animal even for a minute. The only exception is releasing your animal to an official rescue organization, such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which often set up temporary shelters specifically for these situations (be sure to call now to see what their requirements are).

Stay up-to-date:

Designate a particular day each year—ours is the first day of summer—as the day to update all of the above information and to check for the required supplies you need to ensure a safe evacuation for your animals. Being prepared will make a potentially frightening situation run more smoothly for you and your family members, even those with four legs.

TO HELP:

To support HSUS’s rescue mission in Mississippi, please visit http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2011/05/mississippi_floods_051011.html.

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