Every year natural disasters wreak havoc across the globe. As people scramble to evacuate their homes, some pets get lost along the way. Depending on the urgency of the evacuation, owners are often told to leave their pets behind to create more space for people to speed up the evacuation process. If you live in a disaster prone area, here’s a quick guide to keeping your pets safe and accounted for throughout the chaos!
The PETS Act
Ever since Hurricane Katrina, the government has put an emphasis on protecting animals, and families with animals during natural disasters. The PETS act was introduced in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina when a survey discovered that of the families that did not evacuate their homes, 44% of them did so because of their beloved pets. The statistics regarding the number of pets lost throughout the entire process of Hurricane Katrina are heartbreaking. (We’ll spare you the heartache, but you can find them HERE) The PETS act allows for state and local governments to be funded, as well as reimbursed for the money they spend on rescuing and caring for animals during natural disasters.
A few things you can do to help keep your pet safe during these chaotic times
- Make a Plan and Stick to It
- A major key to navigating chaos is to have a plan. Already knowing where to go and what to bring before disaster strikes makes things much easier when your entire city is in a frenzy. Stick to your plan, things can get confusing and stressful if you decide to change it up last minute.
- Emergency Kit (Pet Included)
- Have enough water for you and your pet to survive for (at least) 3 days! Keep a stock of non-perishable foods, a litter box (or puppy pads), and a photo of you and your pet in case the worst scenario occurs.
- FLASHLIGHTS ARE KEY. Power outages are very common during a disaster and battery powered flashlights can be a lifesaver.
- ID Your Pet!
- Make sure your dog or cat has a collar with up-to-date information to reunite them with you if you ever get separated.
- Making sure your pet’s microchip is up to date is another major step. The average citizen can’t scan the chip, but if they are returned to an animal shelter the chance of being reunited with your pet increases dramatically.
- Evacuate Early!
- As the evacuation becomes more urgent, families are often told to leave their pets behind to create space for more people. The sooner you evacuate, the better chance you have of bringing your pet with you.
- Find a Safe Place Ahead of Time
- Not all emergency shelters allow pets. Research ahead of time and find out the ideal place to bring your pets during an evacuation.
- To find pet friendly places to stay, follow these links!
- To find out more about Pet Friendly Hotels, check out our blog!
- Make a deal with a friend/neighbor in case you’re not home
- Should the worst happen while you’re away from home, make a deal with a friend or neighbor to take care of your pet until you can be reunited with them. Offer to do the same with their animals if they’re the ones away from home when disaster strikes. Having a network of people working together is always a positive.
We cannot prevent natural disasters, but we can take steps to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe when these events do occur. Being prepared and having a plan is the best defense we can have. We hope this was helpful and informative! Please share with your friends in disaster prone areas so that they can be prepared when disaster strikes.
The Lilly Brush Team