September 6, 2011
Central Texas Residents Urged to Take Pets with Them If Evacuating
AUSTIN, Tex. — The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents of Bastrop, Grimes, Montgomery, Travis, Waller, Williamson and other counties in Texas who may be in the path of multiple devastating wildfires to take their pets with them if they evacuate.
Fires have broken out across the drought-stricken state from East Texas to the Houston area, but the latest round of fires is concentrated in central Texas and has already burned hundreds of thousands of acres and destroyed hundreds of homes in the area east of Austin. There could be additional evacuations as the wildfires continue to burn.
“It is crucial that residents are prepared to take pets with them when evacuating in the face of these destructive fires," advised Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director for The HSUS. “If it isn’t safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. This is especially important to remember as this summer’s long drought and extreme heat have lengthened the already destructive wildfire season into September.”
The HSUS is working with Bastrop County Animal Control, the Austin Humane Society, and other local and national agencies to help assess the needs and provide field rescue assistance if requested.
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.
A pet 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.