No Pet Left Behind

Tornado season is approaching which could bring high winds, floods and home damage. Disasters happen. Having a plan in place in case of fire, accidents, rail disasters or even enemy attack can help save the lives of you and your family (2 and 4-legged members). Do you know what you would do with your pets in an emergency evacuation situation?

It’s important to remember in an emergency that our pets should be treated as family. If it isn’t safe for humans, it is not safe for our pets. Leaving an animal behind will not only endanger the life of your pet, but can also put other humans in danger.  Confusion, anxiety, starvation and injury may make even the most well trained pet act unpredictably or aggressively when emergency responders or even family member try to help.  Your pets are a personal responsibility – having a plan in place can help one to remain calm in challenging situations.

Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006 

After Hurricane Katrina, the PETS Act was implemented after the realization hit that the single most common reason humans refused to evacuate was because they didn’t know what to do with their pets. 

PETS Act ensures that state and local emergency operational plans address the needs of individuals with household pets following a major disaster or emergency.  Service animals are actually considered to be persons.

The first 72 are on YOU 

It takes emergency responders about 72 hours to gather and prepare, so each family has to help themselves for the first 72. It is important to know that emergency responders are instructed to preserve human life.

Dangers of leaving a pet behind

  • Starvation
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Other animals/humans defending themselves

Have a Plan

  • Prepare your Pet
    • Have a crate for each animal (make sure your pet is used to being in its crate)
    • Train your pet to come when called
    • Train your pet not to be territorial
  • Paperwork in Place
    • Keep a current photo of you with your pet
    • Copies of current rabies/vaccinations
    • Name & phone number of your veterinarian
    • List of pet-friendly hotels near you and 100 miles away
    • Microchip your pet
    • Keep records on a flash drive
  • Grab-and-Go Bag (pre-packed so you can quickly grab on your way out)
    • Food & Water for at least 72 hours
    • Bowls – sturdy, unbreakable, non-spillable
    • Collar with ID and alternate phone numbers
    • Pets medications and First Aid Kit
    • Crate, leash, litterbox/scoop
    • Clean- up supplies
    • Jump drive with all records
  • Nobody Home plan
    • Plan with a neighbor in case you are not home
      • Phone numbers
      • Key/instructions 
      • where is food/water/leash
      • paperwork
      • pet’s schedule
      • familiarity with the neighbor
    • What to do if you can’t get in touch with this person

Reuniting with your pet

  • Microchip up-to-date
  • Medical records
  • Registration or village license
  • Photo of you with your pet

No Pet Left Behind

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina estimated that there were 100-160,000 pets living in New Orleans before Katrina hit. It is estimated that 90% of animals died.  Only 2000 were reunited with owners in spite of careful record keeping, microchipping upon intake and a website dedicated to reuniting pets and owners. Approximately 8000 pets were evacuated to other areas of the country. Many have expired in shelters and rescues and some are still living in “temporary” housing more than 10 years later.

Planning ahead may save your life and the lives of your family and pets.