Before Hurricane Katrina, there was no law that said that all pets and service animals needed to be evacuated, rescued, and sheltered during an emergency or disaster. When the deadly storm hit the state of Louisiana, an estimated of 600,000 animals were left behind, deserted, and thousands died from drowning, starvation, and sickness.
The devastating affect of this storm has prompted the government, both local and federal, to either change their policies or add new ones to include the safety of these pets and service animals. In addition, different agencies are also teaming up with the government and local animal rescues that will protect our pets in times of disasters.
Our pets depend on us for their safety and survival. As pet owners, we have the obligation to know what to do in case a disaster strikes, which can occur at a moment’s notice. Whether they are natural disasters such as fires, storms and floods, or man-made disasters such as terrorist attacks, the best way to beat it and come out it safe is through proper planning.
Having a good plan of action guarantees the safety and survival of you, your family, and your dogs.
The best time to think about the safety of your dog is before a disaster strikes. Proper planning and preparation is the key to keeping your dog safe and secured during this frightening time. Keep in mind the following safety measures:
1. Crate train your dog. In case of an emergency or disaster, you should be able to put your dog in the crate as soon as possible and without difficulty.
2. You may have to ask a neighbor to help you with the evacuation, especially if you have more than one pet.
3. Plan ahead of time. If you are away from your home when disaster strikes, designate someone who can go to your house as soon as possible to rescue your dogs.
4. Know ahead of time where you are taking your dog, during and after the disaster, until you can safely go back to your home.
5. Leave your house as soon as you receive the notice to evacuate. Never wait until the last minute.
6. Even if the disaster does not strike, evacuation is still necessary until you are absolutely sure that you and your pets are going to be safe.
7. Keep a disaster supply kit for your dog in a convenient location in the house. Among these important items be sure to include food and water (at least 3 days supply for each pet), a first aid kit, crate, can opener, leashes and harnesses, and newspaper or potty pads.
8. Finally, make sure that your dog wears an ID tag with a current phone number securely fastened to his collar. This number should be to a cell phone that you carry with you at all times.