In this guest blog, ASPCA Director of Disaster Response Dick Green tells us what it’s like to be a disaster responder during National Preparedness Month. He also shares his tips for disaster preparedness.
September is National Preparedness Month, and it has certainly lived up to its name! September began just after Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana. Isaac not only “landed” seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina but took a very similar path. Not nearly the size of Katrina, Isaac still wreaked havoc as a Category I storm that just sat and spun off the coast, bringing more than 20 inches of rain to New Orleans and causing extensive flooding in St. John and Plaquemines parishes.
The Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) asked us to help prepare for the storm and be ready to assist with assessment and rescue. Working in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, LSART and the ASPCA provided sheltering support, evacuation, and water and land rescue throughout the impacted areas.
Following Isaac, three members of the Field Investigations and Response Team presented at the National Animal Control Association’s Disaster Academy. My presentation, “Trends in Disasters,” showed that disasters are increasing worldwide and that, unfortunately, the U.S. is a hotbed—consistently number one or two each year in terms of frequency and impact.
Next, six ASPCA staffers delivered talks at the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs Summit. I provided a cost analysis for emergency animal sheltering. The take-home message was that shelters that house both people and their pets are the only way to go. My team also conducted nearly 40 interviews throughout the country over the last couple of days, sharing these key tips:
1. Have a Plan. That plan needs to be more that just evacuating with your animals. We hope everyone will do that! Your “all-family” plan needs to include how you will transport your animals, possible routes you will take and your destination/sheltering options. Practice that plan at least yearly and share it with your family and friends. 2. Build a Kit. Don’t forget a photo of your pet, medical records, vaccination records, and any special food or prescriptions. 3. Stay Informed. Keep an eye on the weather, follow the projected storm path and don’t get caught unprepared. Staying informed also means knowing which shelters house both people and pets, monitoring possible road closures and having alternate travel plans. 4. Know your Neighbors. Now is a great time to have a block party. Develop a telephone tree and determine who is home when. If a disaster occurs when you are at work, your neighbor may be the only one able to reach your pets. 5. Vaccinate and Microchip your Pets. If you are ever required to shelter your pets, you will want them protected against disease. And the single most important piece of advice we can offer is to microchip your pets. It is truly their ticket home. And remember to update your contact information if it changes.
Congratulations, New Jersey—you’ve just become the latest state to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption!
Just shy of his final deadline, Governor Chris Christie signed into law A.2023/S.1976, which is an amazing piece of legislation: Not only does it prevent a horse slaughter plant from opening in the Garden State, it also prohibits the use of state roads to transport live horses intended for slaughter elsewhere!
New Jersey’s highways are a major East Coast artery up to Canada (and Canadian slaughterhouses). Now that horse slaughterers can’t use them, their lives just became more difficult—and we have to admit, we’re pretty happy about that.
Until we succeed in passing a federal law banning both U.S. horse slaughter and the transport of slaughter-bound horses across our borders, it is vital that individual states continue to stand against this horrific practice by passing their own bans. So thank you, New Jersey animal advocates, for fighting until the end to make sure this bill became law! Please take a moment to thank Governor Christie for approving the bill.
Tennessee Walking Horses desperately need your help. These majestic and gentle-natured creatures are a breed of horse famous for their distinctive, smooth, high-stepping walk. Sadly, a cruel and illegal procedure called “soring” is all too frequently used to elicit an exaggerated movement, called the “big lick,” in order to win prizes at horse shows.
Soring is the gruesome practice of using chemicals and painful devices to injure a horse’s front limbs, making any contact with the ground so painful that the horse quickly jerks up his legs to relieve the pressure. Soring causes such intense pain that its victims often cannot stand for several days afterward.
Although soring was banned nationwide in 1970, inadequate legal penalties and lax enforcement have allowed this cruel practice to continue. A new bill, H.R. 6388, will address these inadequacies by amending the federal Horse Protection Act and improving protections for horses from soring, and we need your help in building support for this critical legislation!
What You Can Do Please contact your U.S. representative and urge him/her to cosponsor H.R. 6388 and support strong amendments to the Horse Protection Act to better protect horses from soring.
After losing her beloved cat, Cookie, Wilma Trani’s friends suggested she visit the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City. She shared the following story with us about her first trip to the Adoption Center, and her subsequent adoption of brother and sister kittens, Milo and Mia.
My love and obsession for cats started 20 years ago. I have cared for a total of five cats, and I adopted all of them from shelters—I never have any regrets.
We recently lost our most precious, spoiled and much-loved cat of ten years, Cookie, to a serious illness, leaving us with empty hearts and an empty home. We longed for the company of another cat, but wanted to look around.
My friends adopted their cat at the ASPCA Adoption Center about two years ago, and they had a positive experience and suggested we visit. So,on a beautiful day in April, my daughter and I decided to take our first trip to the ASPCA to "just look" at the cats—who were we kidding?
We walked into the building and saw content cats in a beautiful and stimulating environment and immediately knew we were not there to just look but to adopt.
After filling out the paperwork, a pleasant woman escorted us to a nice, clean room full of cats and, immediately, we saw two adorable three-month-old kittens—a brother and sister pair. It was love at first sight!
Two hours later and a phone call to my understanding and loving husband, we walked out with two cute additions to our family—Milo and Mia.
They are funny, adorable, mischievous, loving, naughty and spoiled. We love them to pieces, and they are adjusting well to their new home and family. Our hearts and home are no longer empty!
Fan of the Emmys? So are we! Tonight we’ll be joining Gracey the Tiniest Tiger as she hosts the popular Red Carpet Cat Academy Award Twitter Party LIVE from Hollywood. Simply follow #RedCarpetCat on Twitter to mingle with the stars as Gracey tweets photos from our special pre-emmy gifting suite.
But that’s not all! While Gracey is rubbing paws with animal-loving celebs, Event Barkers will keep the Twitter party moving with fun trivia questions and swag bag giveaways every 10 minutes—these are the very same gifts celebrities will be receiving at the Red Carpet Lounge Gifting Suite in Beverly Hills.