Pets and Disasters
There are some steps pet owners can take to prepare for disasters even before hurricane season begins:
- Contact your local animal shelter, humane society, veterinarian or emergencymanagement office for information on caring for pets in an emergency.
- So pets will be safe if you need to evacuate, spend time before hurricaneseason to find places to board your pet away from coastal areas or near relativeswho live outside your region.
- Make sure your pet has a properly fitted collar that includes current license,rabies tags, and your updated contact information.
- Consider having your pet identified through microchip technology. Yourlocal veterinarian can assist you in finding a location that provides thisservice.
- Contact motels and hotels in communities outside of your area and find outif they will accept pets in an emergency.
During a disaster, bring your pets inside. Never leave a pet outside or tiedup during a storm. If you leave your home after a disaster, take your pets withyou. If you evacuate to a shelter, verify their policy on accepting pets beforeyou go. Additionally, be aware that your pet’s behavior may change before,during, and after a disaster.
Medical Care and Shelter
Here are two frequently asked questions concerning what costs may be coveredfor pets and animals during a disaster.
What costs are eligible for disaster reimbursement for the medical care of animals in sheltering states?
If the receiving state requires a vaccination for animals coming into the state,those costs would be eligible for health and safety reasons. Beyond that, notreatment is eligible.
Will agencies and organizations providing shelter to pets evacuated from areas impacted by hurricanes and other disasters be eligible for assistance?
Reasonable costs for sheltering pets brought with their owners to shelters inhost states are eligible. Requests for reimbursement must be submitted by stateand local governments.
Finding Lost Pets
According to the HSUS, more than 6,000 pets were rescued in the Gulf States affected by Hurricane Katrina. The search and rescue of these pets was undertaken in a coordinated effort between FEMA and HSUS. These efforts included Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMATS) and volunteer groups assigned the task of finding lost pets. Ongoing efforts to reunite pets with their owners continue.
Because of the severity of Hurricane Katrina, many pets were left behind orlost in the wake of the disaster. Many residents who lost pets and have notyet been able to recover them, may be able to find them through the followingways:
- Contact the local humane society chapter, or call the Southwest RegionalOffice of HSUS at 817-492-8000 to locate local shelters or organization offices.
- A number of different agencies, including HSUS, are coordinating efforts through the World Wide Web—www.petfinder.com.This website provides access to a number of resources for locating lost pets.