ASPCA Urges Pet Owners to Prepare Adequately for Hurricane Irma

ASPCA engaging with local agencies as potentially catastrophic storm approaches the Southeast
September 6, 2017

NEW YORK—As Hurricane Irma approaches the southeastern United States, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) offers expert tips on keeping pets safe during a disaster. The ASPCA has activated its disaster response team in anticipation of potential evacuation, rescue, and sheltering needs before, during, and after the hurricane.

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.

"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 Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. "The ASPCA stands ready to assist animals in Hurricane Irma’s path, but the first and best line of defense for a pet will always be a well-prepared owner." 

The ASPCA assisted in the relocation of hundreds of animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey from Galveston, Beaumont and Corpus Christi to other parts of Texas and Louisiana, as well as to the Northeast, including the ASPCA Adoption Center. In support of the Houston SPCA, the ASPCA deployed water rescue teams to Beaumont to assist with search-and-rescue efforts by boat, provided critical sheltering supplies, and dispatched its mobile medical unit to help injured storm animals. In the wake of the storm, the ASPCA has been engaging municipalities in both Texas and Louisiana to deploy much-needed responders to Harvey-impacted areas.

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. In 2016, the ASPCA rescued nearly 1,600 animals from disaster situations and responded to eight disasters – including Hurricane Matthew and the wildfire in Lake County, California.

More ASPCA life-saving disaster preparedness tips can be found at: