In anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) urges pet owners to develop an emergency evacuation plan to keep their families and pets safe before the storm makes landfall on the East Coast.
“The best thing you can do for you and your pet is to plan ahead before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall,” said Dr. Dick Green, director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. “Don’t wait until the last minute to see if Hurricane Sandy will affect your community. Act now and tune in to your local news to monitor the hurricane’s path. And remember, please take your pets with you if you need to evacuate.”
According to the ASPCA’s national study on disaster preparedness, more than one-third (35 percent) of dog and cat owners don’t have a disaster preparedness plan in place. Further, only about a quarter of dog owners (28 percent) and cat owners (24 percent) say their animals are micro-chipped. The ASPCA urges pet owners to develop an emergency plan that accounts for the safety of their animals and to stay informed about the potential for evacuation in their area.
The following tips will help pet owners prepare for natural disasters:
Obtain a rescue alert sticker, which will let rescuers know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible and that it includes: 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number.
Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.
Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. The ASPCA recommends micro-chipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification.
Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave your pets behind.
Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet first aid supplies.
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team frequently responds to natural disasters, including major events like Hurricane Irene, and the Joplin, Mo. tornado in 2011, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, in addition to being called upon by state and municipal governments and other animal welfare partners to lend expertise during large-scale animal rescue operations.
For more information on disaster preparedness and safety tips from the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/, or visit our blog for the latest updates at http://blog.aspca.org/content/how-prepare-your-pets-hurricane-sandy.