for Pet Owners
Natural disasters can strike any time and without advance warning. During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we learned that people will risk their lives and endanger their own safety to stay with their pets during natural disasters. "One of the big lessons after Katrina was that we must prepare all members of our family for possible disasters, including planning for our family pets," said General Manager Brenda Barnette. Here are a few simple tips that could save your life and the life of your pet too:
1. *Make sure your pets are micro-chipped and have proper identification.* This is the single most important step you can take to ensure that you and your companion animals will be reunited if you are separated. Don't forget to include alternate contacts with the microchip registration, such as your cell phone number and phone numbers for an out-of-area relative so that you can still be contacted in the case of an evacuation.
2. *If you need to evacuate, take your animals with you.* It is simply too dangerous to leave companion animals unattended during natural disasters. The best way to ensure the safety of your pets is to evacuate with them.
3. *Have a rescue alert sticker visible in one of your home's windows that lists the number and species of animals residing in your home*. If you evacuate with your animals during an emergency, and time allows, write "Evacuated" across the alert sticker.
4. *Keep a back-up supply of pet food, prescription medications, and essentials*. Also, assemble an animal evacuation kit with the following materials:
- One durable animal carrier displaying your name, address, and phone number for each animal in your household
- Pet food (peel tops) and bottled water (5 gallons per animal is ideal)
- Kitty litter and pan
- Blankets e. Leash, harness, collar
- Photocopies of medical and immunization records and recent photos of your pet (in case you need to create "lost" flyers or provide proof of ownership)
- Wet wipes
- Plastic bags
5. *Locate pet-friendly lodgings in advance*.
Plan now for your human and your furry family members!