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Isaac May Hit Gulf Coast; Wildlife Center Hunkers Down

Prepare now to protect yourself and your pets

The HSUS's Animal Rescue Team

  • These month-old orphaned squirrels still need care and feeding, and will go home with a caretaker if the storm threatens. Betty Borroto/The HSUS

  • The Wildlife Center's Liz Guadagno preps a staging area where trained volunteers will pick up animals to foster until after the storm. Betty Borroto/The HSUS

Update, Aug. 25, 2012, 11 a.m.: The HSUS is staying in close touch with federal and state emergency management officials across the Gulf Coast. Our Animal Rescue Team and equipment are on stand-by, ready to respond if needed.

A hurricane watch is in effect in Florida's Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Our South Florida Wildlife Center expects sustained winds of 55 to 75 m.p.h. The center's advance preparation is paying off, with staff and animals reported safe.

We urge pet owners in Florida, in Alabama, and in Mississippi coastal cities to begin preparing now in case they must evacuate with their pets. We will be tracking the movement of Tropical Storm Isaac through the weekend and beyond and will provide updates via Twitter and Facebook.

Humane Society International reports that the storm hit Haiti hardest between 1 and 4 a.m. The team there said that the power was out and it was still raining, with periodic gusts of high wind and a lot of debris blown down. Fortunately, our Haiti Animal Welfare Center did not sustain any major damage, and the director is checking in with staff members. If possible, they will head out later today to a nearby tent city to see if there is anything they can do to help. Mudslides and flooding are still potential dangers in Haiti.

The Humane Society of the United States has been following the development of Tropical Storm Isaac and is standing by to help.

Some hurricane models project the storm path into the Gulf of Mexico, while others bring it farther east over Florida. While it is too early to tell what effects Isaac will have on the U.S. mainland, our local staff will provide information on hurricane preparedness and evacuation tips, and will send updates on rescue and emergency sheltering efforts if those become necessary.

Our South Florida Wildlife Center, potentially in the path of the storm, has already begun evacuating some animal residents and is preparing to shelter the rest in place. Humane Society International is fortifying the Animal Welfare Clinic in Haiti as the storm nears, and spreading the word to residents about disaster preparedness.

Do try this at home

These official preparations are a good reminder to plan for your pets if you live in the path of the storm. Even if you don't, it's an excellent idea to create a disaster kit so that you are ready if any kind of emergency forces you from your home. Your kit should include at the minimum:

  • Copies of medical records
  • A picture of you with your pet
  • A crate or carrier large enough to include food and water bowls, comfort items, and a litter box for cats

See our complete list of items to include in your disaster kit

You are part of the team

Please make a donation to The HSUS's Animal Rescue Team so we can be there for animals in need.

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