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Arizona Residents Urged to Take Pets with Them If Evacuating

The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents of Arizona in the path of several large wildfires to take their pets with them if they evacuate. These uncontained wildfires have grown to more than 700,000 acres and may continue to burn for several more days. Additional, unexpected and potentially hasty evacuations may be necessary as the fires continue to grow.

"It is crucial that residents are prepared to take pets with them when evacuating in the face of these destructive, often unpredictable, fires," advised Kari Nienstedt, Arizona state director for The HSUS. "If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets."

Pet owners should have an emergency plan that includes the safety of their animals, and always be informed about the potential for evacuation in their area. Additionally, pet owners should keep a watchful eye on their pets for any adverse affects from smoke inhalation and contact their veterinarian immediately with any concerns. The HSUS has been in touch with several local shelters and the state animal control association to assess the potential impact on animals and offer assistance.

This emergency supply kit should include:

  • Three-or-more-day supply of food in airtight, waterproof container, and drinking water.
  • Bowls for food and water.
  • Current photos and physical description of your pets, including details on markings.
  • Medications, vaccination records and pet first aid supplies.
  • Comfort items such as a toy and blanket.
  • Small garbage bags.
  • For dogs include: leash, harness and a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area.
  • For cats include: litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport.

Pet owners should be aware that many evacuation shelters do not accept pets, and they must plan their destination in advance. Hotels and motels may be willing to lift "no pet" restriction in an emergency. Friends and family members living outside the area may be able to provide shelter too. Please check with your local animal shelter or emergency management office to determine if a pet friendly emergency shelter will be set up in your location.

More than 358 million pets reside in 63 percent of American households. A Zogby International poll found that 61 percent of pet owners will not evacuate if they cannot bring their pets with them.

For more tips on preparedness plans that include your pets, visit humanesociety.org/prepare

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.