Sacramento, CA (August 28, 2005) – Volunteers with the Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS), the nation’s oldest animal disaster relief program, are on high alert in the face of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in Louisiana. More than one million people have been evacuated in anticipation of Katrina’s expected landfall Monday morning and the impending storm has been described by the New Orleans mayor as a “very serious… [a] once-in-a-lifetime event.”
“We are making contact with all the emergency management and animal sheltering officials in Katrina’s expected path,” reports EARS Southeast Regional Director Raquel Aluisy, who is coordinating EARS efforts in the area. “We are expecting this storm may require a massive effort to assist displaced animals. Those evacuating are strongly urged to take their animals with them.”
Families should make every effort to bring animals with them when evacuating. Most hotels and motels are pet-friendly and even those who might not normally accept pets make exceptions during disasters. Evacuees are encouraged to check PetsWelcome.com for a comprehensive listing of pet-friendly accommodations. While Red Cross shelters do not allow pets, if evacuating to a shelter, pets are safer in cars at the shelter than they are at home.
“Because of the nature of these disasters, it may be impossible for evacuees to safely return home for several days,” said UAN president Jennifer Fearing. “Beyond the trauma animals may be subject to during the disaster, most animals cannot survive on their own for up to a week. All efforts should be taken to bring animals along with the family.”
In the worst-case scenario, if families decide to leave your animals at home, they should:
- leave companion animals inside with access to the kitchen, hallways and bathrooms;
- close off doors to your more cluttered rooms (the ones with the best hiding places);
- provide plenty of food and water; and
- secure a sign to your front door with the word “PETS” written in large letters. On the sign, also write the type and number of animals inside to aid rescuers.
EARS, the disaster rescue program of United Animal Nations, is a nationwide network of more than 2,300 trained volunteers dedicated to rescuing and caring for animals during disasters. Dozens of trained EARS volunteers will be mobilized to assist with Hurricane Katrina efforts, with several prepared to fly or drive during the night to get to the area in time to help. During the past fifteen years, EARS volunteers have helped thousands of animal disaster victims including more than 400 animals during last summer’s devastating string of hurricanes in Florida.
All disaster rescues are funded by donations and provided free of charge to the community. To contribute to the EARS Hurricane Katrina effort, send donations to UAN, P.O. Box 188890, Sacramento, CA 95818 or click here. To read updates about EARS disaster responses, visit UAN’s website at www.uan.org.
Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations (UAN) is the nation’s leading provider of emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief and a key advocate for the critical needs of animals. For further information, contact UAN at (916) 429-2457, visit our Web site at www.uan.org or send an email to email@example.com.