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October 4, 2013

Pet Owners in Path of Tropical Storm Karen Urged to Prepare, Protect Pets

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

 As Tropical Storm Karen takes form in the Gulf of Mexico, The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents along the coast in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and throughout North and South Carolina to take some simple – but critical – steps to keep their pets safe.

 While the path and impact of Tropical Storm Karen is uncertain, 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 and kit that includes the safety of their animals, and always be informed about the potential for evacuation in their area should the storm strengthen.

 Wanda Merling, senior manager of disaster response for The HSUS said: “Karen’s strength and trajectory is unknown, but the time to prepare is now. It’s important to have an emergency plan in place – if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.”

 The HSUS reminds pet owners to create a pet emergency kit that is available to quickly grab and go and be sure to put a collar with visible identification on pets, including indoor-only pets. The kit should include:

  • Three-or-more-day supply of food in airtight, waterproof container, and drinking water. Be sure to include a can opener if including canned food.
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Current photos and physical description of your pets, including details on markings. Ideally you should also be in the photo.
  • Medications, vaccination records and pet first aid supplies
  • Comfort items such as a toy and blanket
  • Small garbage bags
  • Paper towels
  • For dogs include: leash, harness with identification information and a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area.
  • For cats include: litter and litter box, collar with identification information 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. The HSUS recommends creating a list of hotels and boarding facilities that allow pets and discussing with family members your desire to bring pets to stay with you while the storm passes. Please check with local animal shelters or emergency management offices to determine if a pet friendly emergency shelter will be set up in your location. Pet owners should remember that having their pets microchipped dramatically increases the chanced of reunion if that pet becomes lost.

 More than 396 million pets reside in 68 percent of American households. A Zogby International poll, conducted after Hurricane Katrina, found that 61 percent of pet owners will not evacuate if they cannot bring their pets with them.

 For more information on how to prepare for disasters, visit humanesociety.org/prepare.

 Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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