I spent a week after hurricane Katrina breaking down doors and getting animals out after people left them behind. The tragedy is that most didn’t survive. Animals were left behind to drown or starve to death. The most heartbreaking house I went to had a dead cat inside—and a carrier by the door. Taking her would have been so easy.
The recent flooding in Queensland, Australia, is a shocking reminder of the need to be prepared for emergencies. Please read the below advice for ensuring the safety of animal companions in case you are ever asked to evacuate because of a flood or other natural disaster. And please, be sure to share this information with friends or family. Don’t wait until it’s too late to make plans for disasters.
- Never leave your animals behind to fend for themselves.
- Never tie animals up or leave them confined in any way, as they will be trapped and unable to flee rising floodwaters.
- Know your destination ahead of time. Although human shelters often refuse animals, motels in the area will probably accept dogs, cats, and other small animals in an emergency. Never leave animals unsupervised in a car; they can suffer from heatstroke once ambient temperatures rise, even if water is provided and the windows are slightly open.
- Place small animals in secure carriers, and keep dogs leashed. Frightening sounds and unfamiliar surroundings may make them bolt. Take water and food bowls, your animals’ favorite toys or blankets, a towel, and enough food for at least a week.
- Have your animals microchipped, and put secure, legible ID tags on them.
- Watch for other animals in need, including strays and animals who are left behind by neighbors. If you see an animal in distress and are unable to help, note the animal’s condition and location and call authorities for help as soon as possible.
Posted by Jason Baker