For those of us on the East Coast, the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 is still present and fresh on our minds. And most recently, persistent flooding in the Midwest has wreaked havoc on the lives of humans and pets alike. It’s important for pet parents in all parts of the country to be prepared to act in the face of a disaster—and that includes having an emergency plan in place for your pets.
That’s one of the reasons why we joined FEMA to recognize May 8 as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to learn more about the ways you can keep your furry friends safe in an emergency. Here are a few easy steps you can take:
1. Have a Plan. Your “all-family” plan needs to include how you will transport your animals in an evacuation, 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 a projected storm’s 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. It’s best to form a relationship with your neighbors well in advance of a disaster situation.Develop a telephone tree and determine who is home and when. If a disaster occurs while you’re at work, your neighbor may be the only one who can reach your pets.
5. Vaccinate and Microchip. If you’re ever required to shelter your pets, you’ll 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.
Guest blog by Deborah Dubow Press, Regulatory Affairs Manager, ASPCA Government Relations
The ASPCA believes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The more prepared animal facilities are for emergencies, the better responders, like the ASPCA, can stretch our resources and focus our relief efforts when disaster strikes.
That’s why today we applaud the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new regulation requiring all facilities licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act—this includes breeders, zoos, research facilities, dealers, and other exhibitors and intermediate handlers—to prepare emergency plans for protecting and caring for animals during disaster.
While the ASPCA will always provide zealous and expert response to imperiled animals, we believe that animal-related businesses should be prepared to protect their animals in emergency situations. Given the tireless efforts of theASPCA’s FIR Teamand other first responders, mandatory emergency planning is a small thing to ask and a reasonable cost of doing business.
We are hopeful that this new regulation will prevent animals from being harmed during man-made and natural disasters alike. To learn about establishing an emergency plan for your own pets, please visit our Disaster Preparedness page.
This holiday season, homeless pets across the nation are getting much-needed holiday meals thanks to Ellen DeGeneres and Freekibble.com. DeGeneres, who co-owns Halo, Purely for Pets, has teamed with 16-year-old Freekibble.com founder Mimi Ausland to launch the second annual Holiday Kibble Drop.
The initiative will deliver 500,000 meals of all-natural Halo Spot’s Stew to pets in need at 69 shelters— including many along the East Coast that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. One of its stops is the ASPCA Emergency Boarding Facility in Brooklyn, New York.
Founded by Ausland when she was just 11, Freekibble.com has donated more than 8 million meals to shelters and rescues since 2008. Each day, its website features a new trivia question. Every time visitors answer a question, right or wrong, they earn 10 pieces of kibble for homeless pets. How cool is that?
Helping homeless pets find their forever homes is a cause close to DeGeneres’ heart, too. “Pet adoption is something I’m extremely passionate about. I believe that by working together, we can find good homes for the millions of homeless and abandoned pets out there,” she says.
If you were separated from your pet during Hurricane Sandy, there is a chance your dog or cat is under the care of the ASPCA at our Emergency Boarding Facility in Brooklyn. We’ve partnered with Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) to help pets displaced by Hurricane Sandy find their homes. Please check the lost dog database and lost cat database for photos and details about each animal at the shelter. Additional pets are listed in the AC&C Found Pets Database.