As Hurricane Dorian intensifies and rapidly approaches the Southeast, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is offering lifesaving expert tips on keeping animals safe during a disaster and urging residents in the pathway of the hurricane to include pets in their evacuation plans.
Hurricane Dorian is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall, and high winds throughout the next several days, and could intensify to a Category 4 storm by the time it makes landfall over Labor Day weekend. The ASPCA disaster response team is in communications with local and state emergency response agencies and stands ready to assist displaced animals and pet owners upon request.
"The ASPCA strongly urges residents in the pathway of Hurricane Dorian to bring their pets with them if they have to evacuate their homes," said Dick Green, senior director of ASPCA Disaster Response. "Many disasters can strike in a moment’s notice, but we have time to prepare before Hurricane Dorian makes landfall, and a pet’s first line of defense is a well-prepared owner. By following the necessary steps to incorporate your pets into your preparedness and evacuation plans, you could be saving a life and keeping your family – including your pets – together."
The ASPCA is urging pet owners to take the following steps:
· If you evacuate, take your pets with you. Never leave your pets behind or tether them to poles or trees, which prevents them from escaping high waters and getting to safe areas.
· Make sure all pets are wearing ID tags with up-to-date contact information. The ASPCA also recommends checking microchip registration information to ensure that contact information is up-to-date as well.
· Create a portable pet emergency kit with essential items including medical records, water, water bowls, pet food and your pet’s medications.
· Choose a designated caregiver, such as a friend or relative outside the evacuation zone, who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable.
For more information on how to incorporate your pet into your disaster preparedness plans, visit aspca.org/disasterprep.
In 2018, the ASPCA responded to a string of natural disasters including Hurricanes Florence and Michael, the volcano eruption in Hawaii, and mudslides and wildfires in California, assisting more than 9,000 animals through pre-evacuation, field rescue, and post-disaster relief efforts. The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team deploys nationwide to assist in relocation, search-and-rescue, sheltering and placement of animals during disaster situations including wildfires, tornadoes and floods. In addition, they work closely with local agencies across the country to help enhance their animal response capabilities through grants and training opportunities.