Make an Emergency Plan for your Pets
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are barely behind us, and more extremely powerful hurricanes are lined up behind them. Reports of tethered, abandoned dogs are still coming in to animal control offices in Texas and Florida. Some people who evacuated took their dogs with them, or found other options for shelter during the storm. But it’s clear that many people left their animals behind, sometimes chained up without access to food, water, or shelter.
The city of Tampa is still responding to calls about abandoned and tethered animals left to fend for themselves after Irma’s wrath. The county’s animal control office reported a thirty percent increase in animal abandonment calls since the hurricane.
Fortunately, tethering is illegal in Pinellas County, where Tampa is located, and advocates working to rescue abandoned and tethered animals have vowed to seek justice for them. “There are people out there that are staying back that are rescuing these animals and we will work to the fullest extent of the law to find justice for these animals," promised Corinn Smith, a former police officer turned animal rescuer.
While it may feel like we’ve already experienced the worst storms of the year, hurricane season goes through November 30! We have two and a half months left in what’s proving to be a very dangerous hurricane season, and it’s not too late to make an emergency plan for your furry family members.
Even if you live far from the coast and areas likely to be hit by a hurricane, it’s time to make a plan for your pets during an emergency. Fires and floods can strike anywhere, and having a plan for your pets is important!
Here are important steps to prepare for emergencies or natural disasters:
- Make sure your pet(s) wear collars and tags with up-to-date contact information and other identification.
- Microchip your pet(s) – this is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Always be sure to register the microchip with the manufacturer and keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.
- Get a portable pet carrier or crate and help your dog get comfortable in it.
- Know where you will go and how you will get there
- Friends or family out of harm’s way
- Local shelter if you’re unable to leave the area
- Prepare a doggie go-bag with all the essentials
- Food for several days
- Medications in their original containers
- Proof of vaccinations
- Extra leash or harness
- A handout with pet’s description, photo, microchip info, and your best contact information in case you get separated from your pup
- A list of instructions for feeding and medication, and known allergies or other health issues in case your pup needs to board somewhere without you
Make sure your pets are part of your family’s emergency plan. Making a plan will help you have peace of mind, and make it easier to pack up quickly in the event you need to evacuate your home.