Don't forget pets when storms strike
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 24, 2005 1:45 PM
As hurricane season approaches, people are busy stocking their disaster supply kits and preparing evacuation plans. But what if you have pets or livestock? In these cases, there are extra preparations that must be done.
There are sheltering options available in Wayne County that can be anything from local residents offering space for a few animals at their homes to large shelters including one at the county fairgrounds, according to Eileen Coite, a member of the County Animal Response Team here.
For information about sheltering pets and livestock during a hurricane, contact CART at 731-1416 or Ms. Coite at 731-1525.
She offers these tips for animal preparedness:
*Contact the County Animal Response Team, local animal shelters, humane society or veterinarian for information on caring for pets in a disaster.
*Decide on safe locations in your house where you could leave your pet.
*Have a pet carrier that allows your pet to stand up and turn around inside. Put familiar items inside such as the pet's bedding and favorite toys. Train your pet to become comfortable with the carrier.
*If your pet is on medication or a special diet, find out from your vet what you should do in case you have to leave him alone for several days.
*Make sure your pet has a properly fitted collar that includes current license and rabies tags, and your name, address and phone number.
*Keep your pet's shots current and know where the records are.
*Contact motels and hotels in communities outside of your area to find out if they will accept pets.
*When assembling emergency supplies for the household, include items for pets such as extra food, litter, self-feeder and water dispenser and extra medications.
*Take your pets inside.
*Separate dogs and cats. Even if they normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally.
*If you evacuate and plan to take your pets, remember to take their medical records and medicines with your emergency supplies.
*Birds must eat daily. You may have to take them with you. Talk with the CART personnel, your vet or your local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given.
*If you must leave town, take your pets with you or shelter them.
*For the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Familiar landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood waters. And downed power lines are a hazard.
*The behavior of your pets may change after a disaster. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch them closely.
*Evacuation livestock if possible. Arrangements for evacuation, including routes and host sites, should be made in advance. Alternate routes should be mapped out in case the planned route is inaccessible.
*The evacuation sites should have or be able to readily obtain food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and facilities.
*Trucks, trailers, and other vehicles suitable for transporting livestock should be available along with experienced handlers and drivers .
*If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to move large animals to available shelter or turn them outside. This decision should be determined based on the type of disaster and the soundness and location of the shelter structure.
*All animals should have some form of identification that will help with their return.
*Your disaster plan should include emergency phone numbers for local agencies -- including your veterinarian, state veterinarian, local animal shelter, animal care and control, county extension service, local agricultural schools and the American Red Cross.
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