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May 2, 2012

Colorado Residents Urged to Include Pets in Emergency Plans in Advance of Wildfire Season

In response to the imminent threat of wildfires across the western slope of Colorado, The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents who may be in the path of devastating wildfires to include their pets in any emergency plans and to take their pets with them if they evacuate. Wildfires have already broken out in Colorado this season, causing loss of life, destroyed homes and more than 100 people displaced. Severe wildfires are anticipated in the state due to extremely dry conditions.

“It is crucial that residents are prepared to take pets with them when evacuating in the face of these destructive fires,” said Holly Tarry, Colorado 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 we gear up for an already destructive wildfire season.”

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; remember to have pictures of you with your pet, as well, to serve as proof of ownership.
  • 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” restrictions in an emergency. Friends and family members living outside the area may be able to provide shelter as well. 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.  Also, pet owners must prepare for the possibility that they may not be at home when the evacuation order is given and should make sure that a friend or neighbor has access to your home to pick up your pets for you, and that you have a pre-arranged rendezvous location well out of harm’s way. 

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.

 

 

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

 

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