Saving Lives: Is Your City’s Evacuation Center Pet-Friendly?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 11:30am

This past weekend NYC raised the bar on disaster relief—the city made sure all human evacuation centers accepted pets, too. And because of this vital protocol, lives were saved.

Rosalie Yandoli lives in a small bungalow one block away from Rockaway Beach. On Friday afternoon, NYPD officers came to her door, informing her that evacuation was mandatory.

“I told them I wasn’t going anywhere without my cat, Brandy,” says Rosalie. “It’s just me and her in this world. We’ve been together for 14 years, and I was staying put.”

The officers immediately reassured Rosalie that all evacuation centers were pet-friendly; Brandy could come, too. She quickly packed a bag, and with Brandy in tow was escorted to the John Adams Evacuation Center.

“I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect,” Rosalie admits. “But when I arrived I was immediately welcomed. They had everything Brandy needed and they even gave her a private room because of her advanced age—it was more than I could have hoped for.”

Rosalie’s apartment was completely destroyed by Hurricane Irene. “There’s nothing left—my bungalow was completely flooded…we never would have made it out if we had stayed.”

The ASPCA sincerely thanks the City of New York for making this life-saving protocol mandatory, and we strongly urge other states follow its example.

Take Action
Contact your local government officials and ask for a list of pet-friendly evacuation shelters in your area. If there are none, kindly ask them to consider the needs of both pets and people during a disaster.