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August 4, 2014

Residents in the Path of Tropical Storm Bertha Urged to Take Pets With Them if They Evacuate

As Tropical Storm Bertha takes form off the coast of Barbados, The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents and municipalities of their obligation to protect their pets. 

While the path and impact of Tropical Storm Bertha 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 their animals, and always be informed about the potential for evacuation in their area should the storm strengthen.

Director of The HSUS in Puerto Rico Yolanda Álvarez said; “When an emergency occurs, it is important to know that the same rules that apply to people apply to pets. Preparation will make the difference, and if it is not safe for you, nor it is for them.” 

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: Heather Sullivan; 240.477.2251; hsullivan@humanesociety.org  

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