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June 24, 2012

Residents in the Path of Tropical Storm Debby Urged to Prepare, Protect Pets

As Tropical Storm Debby takes form in the Gulf of Mexico, The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents along the coasts in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to take some simple – but critical – steps to keep their pets safe.

While the path and impact of Tropical Storm Debby is not certain, the storm could produce high winds and flooding in low-lying areas. Residents in the potential areas of impact should stay up-to-date on the storm’s progress. 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 should the storm strengthen. 

“Debby’s strength and trajectory could change, but the time to prepare is now. People should be ready to bring their animals inside if they are able to wait out the storm at home, or take their pets with them if asked to evacuate,” advised Niki Dawson, director of disaster response for The HSUS. "If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets."

Residents who are not asked to evacuate are urged to bring any pets indoors during the storm. Those who do need to evacuate are reminded to take their pets with them.

Dogs who are tethered as a means of confinement or other animals left outside may drown, choke to death on tangled leads, or suffer other serious injuries. Pets should be wearing collars and identification tags and kept under your direct control. It’s also important to provide for your pets in the event you lose electricity, making certain they also have adequate food and water.  

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. Pet owners should remember that having your pet microchipped dramatically increases the chanced of reunion if that pet becomes lost.

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, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org


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