ASPCA Urges Pet Owners to Include Animals in Emergency Plans as Hurricane Florence Approaches East Coast

ASPCA in communications with local agencies and prepared to assist as potentially catastrophic storm intensifies to Category 4
September 11, 2018

NEW YORK—As Hurricane Florence intensifies and rapidly approaches the East Coast, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) offers lifesaving expert tips on keeping pets safe during a disaster. The ASPCA disaster response team is in communications with local emergency response agencies in the Carolinas in anticipation of evacuation and rescue needs before, during, and after the hurricane.

"It's critical for pet owners to consider their animals when preparing for any disaster, and we strongly urge them to always bring their animals with them if they have to evacuate their home," said Dick Green, senior director of ASPCA Disaster Response. "The ASPCA stands ready to assist animals in Hurricane Florence’s path, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to incorporate pets into evacuation plans to keep families together and pets safe." 

The ASPCA is urging pet owners to take the following steps:

  • If you evacuate, take your pets with you. Never leave your pets behind or tether them to poles or trees, which prevents them from escaping high waters and getting to safe areas.
  • Make sure all pets are wearing ID tags with up-to-date contact information. The ASPCA also recommends micro-chipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification, should collars or tags become lost.
  • Create a portable pet emergency kit with items including medical records, water, water bowls, pet food and your pet’s medications.
  • Choose a designated caregiver, such as a friend or relative outside the evacuation zone, who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable.
  • Download the free ASPCA mobile app, which allows pet owners to store crucial pet records needed for boarding pets at evacuation shelters. It includes a disaster preparedness checklist.

Last year alone, the ASPCA responded to six disasters including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the wildfires in California, assisting more than 37,000 animals through pre-evacuation, field rescue, and post-disaster relief efforts. The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team deploys nationwide to assist in relocation, search-and-rescue, sheltering and placement of animals during disaster situations including wildfires, tornadoes and floods. In addition, they work closely with local agencies across the country to help enhance their animal response capabilities through grants and training opportunities.

The ASPCA recently produced a 360-degree video that puts viewers on the ground of an actual ASPCA disaster response operation in St. Croix in the wake of Hurricane Maria last year. To view the video and learn more about preparedness tips for pets, visit