Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, a violent storm that displaced thousands of people and pets and caused nearly 300 deaths in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Sandy destroyed homes, shattered lives, and plunged parts of the country—including Lower Manhattan—into darkness for weeks.
Those of us in New York, where the ASPCA is headquartered, were not used to this kind of catastrophic weather event. Despite the warnings, many people avoided making any contingency plans—some even refused to comply with mandatory evacuation orders. Others might have evacuated, but didn’t know what to do with their pets. Watch the video below for the story of one Sandy survivor who wishes she’d done things differently.
Hindsight is 20/20, but we shouldn’t dwell on the mistakes of the past at the expense of protecting ourselves in the future. With hurricane season upon us again, we urge everyone to heed the lessons taught by Hurricane Sandy and to be prepared for disaster to strike.
1. Have a Plan. Your “all-family” plan needs to include how you will transport your animals, possible routes you will take and your destination/sheltering options.
2. Build a Go-Kit. This should include a photo of your pet, medical and vaccination records, and any special food or prescriptions. We feel so strongly about every pet parent having a pet first aid kit that we’ve assembled one for you, and right now it’s $10 off at the ASPCA Online Store.
3. Know Your Neighbors. Find someone you can entrust with a key to your house. If a disaster occurs when you are at work, your neighbor may be able to reach your pets.
4. 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 and keep your contact information current with the chip's maker. It is truly their ticket home.