Summertime is prime time for natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes, and United Animal Nations (UAN) is encouraging all pet owners to make disaster plans that include their animals.
“When animals are left behind during disasters, they can get injured, lost, become sick, starve and pose public safety risks,” said UAN President and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “
UAN has provided emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services for thousands of animals since 1987. UAN offers the following disaster planning advice for pet owners:
if you are forced to evacuate during a disaster, the safest thing you can do for your pets is bring them with you.
1. Identify evacuation locations. If a disaster forces you from your home, bring your animals with you. It is the safest choice for you and your pets. Identify pet-friendly hotels, boarding kennels and loved ones outside of your immediate area that could accommodate your pets. Most human evacuation shelters do not allow animals.
2. Identify pets with tags and permanent microchips. A microchip, a tiny tracking device, is the single best way to reunite lost pets with their families. Veterinarians and many animal control agencies offer the service. Update your microchip information if you move, get a new phone number or change emergency contacts.
3. Start a buddy system. If disaster strikes while you are not home, your animals could be stranded behind disaster lines. Exchange keys and disaster plans with a trusted neighbor who can remove your animals in case of an evacuation. Make sure your buddy is familiar with your pets.
4. Assemble a disaster kit for each pet. A disaster kit contains food, water, medication and other supplies you may not be able to get if roads and business are closed. Assemble one for each animal in your household and keep it near an exit so you can easily grab it if forced to leave.
5. Take photos of you with your pets. If you are separated from your pets, photographs can prove ownership if you must reclaim them from a shelter. Keep copies in your wallet and your disaster kit.
Visit www.uan.org/disastertips for more information, including tips for specific species.
Founded in 1987, UAN focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Learn more at www.uan.org.