June 22, 2011
Florida Residents Urged to Protect Pets from Potentially Harmful Smoke
The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents of Jacksonville and the Eastern Coast of Fla. to limit their pets’ exposure to unhealthy air conditions caused by nearby wildfires. Heat and lack of rain have contributed to one of the worst years for wildfires in recent history, and these fires are causing unhealthy smoke that may be harmful to your pets’ eyes or respiratory system.
“Please remember that this dense smoke can be unhealthy for both you and your animal companions,” advised Justin Scally, interim manager of disaster response for The HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team. “Let your pets outside for a limited amount of time and monitor their condition closely. Contact your veterinarian immediately with any concerns.”
If the fires persist and residents are asked to evacuate please remember to take pets with you and prepare a disaster plan 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. 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. A current photo of yourself with your pet. These items can be helpful if your pet is displaced and you need to prove ownership in order to reclaim him or her.
- 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.