What should I do to keep my pets safe during disasters?

When more severe weather threatens your region, it is essential to make a disaster plan for you, your family and your pets (large and small). Make sure all pets can be identified by a registered microchip with current contact information and secure collar with ID, including at least two phone numbers, one of which is out of the immediate area or state. For horses and large animals, use nontoxic spray paint to put your contact information onto their body. You can also braid an identification tag into their mane with at least two phone numbers, one of which is out of the immediate area or state.

The safest place for you and your pets to be when a tornado approaches is in the basement or a storm shelter underground. Animals often become frightened and hide during extreme weather. Practice bringing your animals to the location you have identified as your tornado shelter space, before a storm looms. As soon as a tornado watch is issued, secure your pets and move them to the safe location. Remember: If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. Always be prepared with a disaster kit.

Our friends at Red Rover have compiled a list of tornado safety tips for pets (large and small).

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What can the HSUS do to help?

We make every effort during times of crisis to respond to needs—but only through 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 and Response 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.

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Where do the animals go when you transport them out of these communities?

The Humane Society of the United States works with a network of more than 300 shelter and rescue partners. The HSUS is thankful for these partners who support our efforts to assist communities impacted by disaster. When the call comes in for assistance our partners make every effort to open up their shelters for the disaster animals. 

Interested in Becoming a Shelter and Rescue Partner? Learn More

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Do you transport missing pets out of the disaster impact region?

The animals who are transported by the HSUS are dogs and cats who were available for adoption in impacted area shelters prior to the tornadoes. Transporting already adoptable animals to rescue and shelter partners in other areas of the U.S. increases the capacity of communities impacted by the tornadoes and provides more room for pets displaced in the tornadoes. Relocating the animals also provides relief for the shelters damaged by a storm and gives the already adoptable animals a second chance at finding a forever home.

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How can I support the HSUS’s work to help animals impacted by the tornadoes?  

Your support is urgently needed: both so we can help during this emergency, and so we can be there at a moment’s notice when future emergencies such as natural disasters and animal cruelty cases occur. Please consider making a gift to support all of our preparedness, rescue, care and relief efforts through the Emergency Animal Relief Fund today.

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What should I do if I am missing a pet?  

If you are missing a pet following a tornado:

Be sure to check in-person at your municipal animal shelter, in addition to filing a missing pet report. Do this in surrounding communities as well. Frightened animals have been known to travel long distances out of fear and confusion.

Search your neighborhood, handing out a recent photograph of your pet and information on how you can be reached if your pet is found.

Post notices at grocery stores, community centers, veterinary offices, traffic intersections and other locations. Include your pet’s sex, age, weight, breed, color and any specific markings.

Try the internet. There may be a “Lost and Found” page for your community on Facebook or other social media platforms. Alternatively, check other sources such as Nextdoor, Craigslist, Center for Lost Pets, Fido Finder, Lost Dogs of America, Lost Pet USA and Missing Pet Partnership.

Don’t give up. Animals who have been lost for months have been reunited with their owners. If you haven’t already, be sure to always microchip your pet and register their microchip, in addition to having your pet wear a collar with ID tags.

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I want to donate supplies for local animal shelters. What should I send?

The best thing for out of state folks to do to help local shelters is donate money and supplies to impacted shelters and those that are taking in animals. Please check with those organizations before sending supplies to make sure what you want to send is actually needed and helpful; many shelters will have lists of their top needs on their websites.

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