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October 25, 2012

Residents in Possible Path of Sandy Urged to Prepare, Include Pets in Disaster Plans

The Humane Society of the United States Offers Tips to Protect Pets

As Hurricane Sandy threatens to take aim for the East Coast, The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents from North Carolina to New England to prepare by taking some simple – but critical – steps to keep their pets safe in severe weather. AccuWeather forecasters are currently predicting rain, wind, and hurricane-like conditions early next week.

While the path and impact of the storm is uncertain, it could produce damaging 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. 

“Sandy’s strength and trajectory is still unknown, but the time to prepare is now,” said Ann Chynoweth, senior director of the animal rescue team for The HSUS. “Pet owners 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. Being prepared offers the best chance for everyone to ride out a storm safely.”

“Anyone in the possible path of this hurricane should start making plans that include their pets,” said Jenna Morasca, winner of “Survivor: Amazon” and the spokesperson for The HSUS’ Disaster Services. “It’s never too early to be prepared. And remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.”

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 brought inside in the event of heavy downpours, storm surge or high winds. It’s also important to provide for your pets in the event you lose electricity, making certain they have adequate food and water.  

Things you can do right now:

  • Put a collar with visible identification on your pets, including indoor-only pets
  • Keep pictures of your pets on hand for identification purposes. Ideally, you should also be in the photo
  • Create a pet emergency kit (see below) and refresh the items every few months
  • Talk to your neighbors about how they can help your pets if you are not at home when disaster strikes
  • Create a list of hotels that allow pets
  • Plan on evacuating about 100 miles inland

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 chances of reunion if that pet becomes lost.

Sixty-two percent of American households own a pet. 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

To view and download video PSAs filmed by Jenna Morasca, click here.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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