- How can I support the Humane Society of the United States' efforts to help animals impacted by disasters?
- Can the HSUS help a particular city or area? Why isn’t the HSUS helping a particular city or area?
- I heard shelters are euthanizing animals in the disaster area. What is the HSUS doing about that?
- I see livestock in a field who may drown. Can you help them?
- Are you going to place animals left behind during a disaster in better homes?
- What percentage of donations to the Emergency Animal Relief Fund goes toward disaster relief?
We never know where disasters will strike or when animals may be in need of urgent rescue, but we know we must be ready. Your support makes this lifesaving work possible.
How can I support the Humane Society of the United States' efforts to help animals impacted by disasters?
Please support rescue and relief efforts by donating to our Emergency Animal Relief Fund. Your gift will ensure that our team can continue to answer the call during times of emergency wherever and whenever animals need us.
We make every effort during times of crisis to respond to needs, but legally, we can only respond when we receive requests from official agencies for field response or from shelters in the path of the storm/affected by the event. Our trained and certified Animal Rescue Team can deploy with agencies in charge of animal response, provide disaster recovery grants post-disaster and plan and train prior to disasters. During an active disaster, the team can provide support by making room and resources available through transporting out already adoptable animals from shelters, assisting in establishing emergency shelters and rescuing stranded animals.
For an out-of-state organization to assist in a federal disaster area, there must be an official request from the appropriate agency or emergency official. If a group or agency needs help, we ask that they contact their local emergency officials, who—if assistance is needed—will get the request to us. These protocols are in place to ensure there is not chaos created by outside groups coming in unrequested, and to ensure the assistance is sent to where it is needed most.
Use our checklist to assemble an emergency kit for yourself and all your pets. During disasters, creating an emergency plan can be a lifesaver.
During times of disaster, many rumors and misleading information make their way onto the internet. Generally, shelters do not euthanize animals in advance to make space for disaster animals, as most shelters are committed to providing the best care and outcome for their animals.
The HSUS is committed to ending the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets. Through our Shelter and Rescue Partner program, we work with organizations who need additional assistance and resources, whether through training, supporting transport efforts or meeting other needs. We encourage any organization with needs to reach out to their local emergency management officials to request assistance.
We each have a duty to ensure that all animals in our care do not suffer or become harmed in a storm. We urge everyone to make a disaster preparedness plan for all animals they are responsible for, whether they are pets, farm animals or other animals in their care. Legally, for the HSUS to assist during disasters, an official request must be made from the appropriate agency.
Our role in disaster responses is to help animals in need and to keep families together. If we participate in a rescue in which an animal is suffering because of intentional cruelty, we would refer that case to law enforcement for further investigation and potential legal action if warranted, but in the vast majority of cases, our role is to reunite families.
We always encourage people to evacuate with their pets, but we recognize that bringing pets along is not always possible for a variety of reasons. It’s not our place to pass judgment in those situations and we do not have the authority to seize animals. Our job is to help animals and people recover from the trauma that they have suffered. The animals we transport out of state to our Shelter and Rescue Partners are animals who were up for adoption prior to the disaster or post-disaster after the official stray hold time has been completed to allow families to find and reunite with their pets.
Donations made to our Emergency Animal Relief Fund are used for the Humane Society of the United States’ preparedness, rescue and relief efforts for disasters and cruelty and neglect cases. This includes paying for the care of animals, the cost of deploying resources to a location (such as staff, transport, etc.), increasing the infrastructure and capacity of our emergency response efforts through fundraising, education and awareness raising, the support of shelters and rescues taking animals from us, transporting animals from affected areas and, in some cases, long-term support of pets in the community going forward. Our priority is always to use donations in the most effective and efficient way so we are always ready to help animals in times of disaster or crisis.