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October 22, 2007
Residents Threatened By Southern California Fires Encouraged To Include Pets In Evacuation Plans

SACRAMENTO, CA (October 22, 2007) – As more than a dozen fires burn in seven Southern California counties, United Animal Nations (UAN) is encouraging residents to take their pets with them if they evacuate. Animals left behind during fires can get injured, fall ill, starve, die, and hamper human evacuation and rescue efforts. Families who must evacuate are encouraged to:

  • Assemble an animal disaster kit that includes food, water, medications, a leash or cat carrier, and photos of animals with family members to prove ownership if they are lost. Visit www.uan.org for more disaster kit tips.
  • Identify all animals with a tag and microchip so they can be more easily reunited if separated.  
  • Make special preparations for large animals like horses. See our “Horse Evacuation Tips,” below, for more details.
  • Seek refuge in a hotel that allows pets. Most hotels and motels are pet-friendly, and those that aren’t often make exceptions during disasters. A searchable database of pet-friendly accommodations is available at www.petswelcome.com or www.petfriendlyhotelsandtravel.com.
  • Leave animals with friends or relatives or board them at a professional kennel safely out of the fire’s reach.
  • Find emergency shelters for animals. Some Southern California counties affected by the fires have established shelters for large and small animals. For information on emergency shelters, contact the Office of Emergency Services for your county:
    • Los Angeles  County, (323) 980-2261 
    • Orange  County, (714) 628-7055
    • Riverside  County, (951) 955-4700
    • San Bernardino  County, (909) 356-3998
    • San Diego  County, (858) 565-3490
    • Santa Barbara  County, (805) 681-5526
    • Ventura  County, (805) 654-2551

“Animals left to fend for themselves during fires suffer terribly, and evacuees can compound their own stress by worrying about the pets they left behind,” said UAN president Nicole Forsyth. “For both human and animal safety, it is vital that every family include their pets in their evacuation plans.”

Through its volunteer-driven Emergency Animal Rescue Service  (EARS), UAN provides free services for communities that become overwhelmed by natural disasters or other crises, including setting up and operating temporary animal relief shelters; evacuating animals from the disaster site; feeding and caring for displaced animals; distributing food and supplies to the community; and reuniting lost animals with their caregivers and finding new homes for unclaimed animals. Emergency management and animal control agencies can call UAN at (916) 429-2457 for assistance.

Now celebrating its 20th year, United Animal Nations (UAN) is North America ’s leading provider of emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services and a key advocate for the critical needs of animals.

Horse Evacuation Tips

  • It takes time to move larger animals, so do not wait until the last minute to evacuate horses to safety.
  • Make arrangements to temporarily shelter your horses ahead of time in case you need to evacuate them.
  • Some possibilities for temporary housing include equine centers, boarding stables, racetracks and fairgrounds. During an evacuation, call your county’s Office of Emergency Services to find out if and where a temporary shelter for large animals has been set up.
  • Maintain a horse trailer and a truck that can safely pull it. If you do not have a trailer or enough trailer space for the number of horses that you have, then work out with another party arrangements for transporting your horse(s).
  • If you have a horse who is not accustomed to being in a trailer, practice loading and unloading him before you actually have to evacuate.
  • If your horse is not permanently identified, temporarily identify her by writing your name, phone number and address on her body with a livestock crayon; shaving this information onto her coat with clippers; or braiding an ID tag into her mane.
  • Keep a store of disaster supplies for your horse(s), including:
    • Rope to tie out the horse if necessary
    • A halter and lead rope
    • A one-week supply of food that your horse is used to eating, stored in an airtight, waterproof container
    • A one-week supply of drinking water (50-gallon barrels are good for storage)
    • Extra feeding and water bucket
    • A one-week supply of shavings
    • Pitchfork
    • Wheelbarrow or muck bucket
    • Current photographs of your horse, especially photos that include you, to prove ownership should your horse get lost and you have to reclaim him
    • A copy of the bill of sale for your horse or other documents that can prove ownership


    MEDIA CONTACT: Alexis Raymond, (916) 429-2457.

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