.Animals are Victims Too
After Katrina, Time Magazine ran an online article in which it stated the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which runs the New Orleans animal shelter, estimated that of 70,000 pets that remained in the city during the storm, only 15,000 were rescued. On top of that, only 20 percent of the rescued animals were reunited with their owners.
September is national Preparedness Month. Anyone who loves animals hates to see statistics like that, so it makes sense to include your pets in the preparations you make for any kind of disaster. This is imperative if you live in an area where tornadoes and hurricanes, even fires and earthquakes could happen.
Here are some tips for pet owners who may find themselves in the path of a hurricane:
— Keep a traveling crate handy for each of your animals, complete with clean bedding and food and water bowls.
— Keep a printout in your car of your pet’s medical records and rabies’ tags. Some hotels may request such documentation.
— Make sure you have enough food and water set aside. The Humane Society of the United States suggests you have a five- to seven-day supply of food and water for each pet.
— Keep your pet’s medications all together in a portable container so you won’t forget any of them if you have to evacuate in a hurry.
— Ask your veterinarian about tranquilizers or mood stabilizers, and purchase them ahead of time if you think your pets may be traumatized in a storm or if you have to move them.
— Pack a box with cleanup supplies—litter box, litter and scoop for cats and plastic bags for dogs—and keep it in your car, together with extra leashes and comfort items like treats and toys.
— Research and make a list of hotels that take pets, or ask a family member or friend who lives outside the disaster zone if they will allow you to bring your pets and stay for a while in the event of a disaster. Alternatively, find out if there are any emergency shelters that will allow you to bring your pets. Most of them do not.
— If you find an emergency animal shelter, be aware that the pet owner is usually responsible for the animal’s food and water, and exercise periods/potty time.
— If you have large livestock like horses or cows, make arrangements well ahead of time to move them to higher ground and/or a safer area.