ASPCA Urges Pet Owners to Prepare for Hurricane Season After Widespread Devastation in 2017

Forecasters predict highly active hurricane season that could potentially threaten the lives of thousands of animals
May 31, 2018

NEW YORK—With June marking the official start of hurricane season and National Pet Preparedness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of incorporating animals into disaster preparedness plans, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is urging pet owners to take precautionary steps and offering key tips on keeping pets safe during an emergency.

"The string of back-to-back disasters we experienced last year tested the limits of first responders across the country and put the lives of thousands of animals at risk," said Dick Green, senior director of ASPCA Disaster Response. "As the ASPCA and other animal welfare organizations prepare for what’s predicted to be another busy hurricane season, we can’t stress enough how important it is to incorporate animals into disaster preparedness 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.

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