Guest Writer Pamala M. on Pet Preparedness

Rescued Pet Disaster Shelter

Rescued Pet Disaster Shelter

Pamala M. had some great insight into pet preparedness in response to our Saving Pets During a Disaster post.  We decided to feature her tips in her own post:

Ensuring that your animal is properly tagged and micro-chipped will go a long way in recovery of an animal that hides or flees in fear during a disaster event. It will also prevent accidental euthanasia of your pet as a “stray” or unowned animal! But, being able to contact the owner of the animal is also critical…

1) Assign an alternate emergency number to a person you would call or contact outside of your area if you had to evacuate…possibly in another state. Do not assume that your veterinarian’s office will survive a disaster event.

2) Do not assume your cell phone number will benefit you if you are in a disaster event. Cell towers may be compromised, just as LAN line can be. This is another reason why the alternate number is critical.

3) Keep your pet’s shots up to date! ALL OF THEM! This protects the general public that could have contact with your pet and it protects them in a situation where they are exposed to strays running loose or kenneled in a shelter with animals that have unknown health/vaccination backgrounds. It can save your pet’s life from diseases such as rabies, parvovirus, and distemper!

4) Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle, not just with supplies for yourself, but also for your pet. If your pet is injured or bleeding and needs care, muzzling may be necessary to provide that care. This can be accomplished with ace bandaging, small rope/cord, electrical tape, or first aid tape.

5) Other items to keep in your vehicle: flashlight with extra batteries; a leash or rope; small tarp, and a small blanket. These items can be used to locate victims, restrain an animal from leaving once captured, the tarp can provide a means of emergency shelter and waterproof surface to lay on, secured by the rope. The tarp can also be used as a drag device to slide a victim or animal to a safe area if too heavy to carry. Lastly, the blanket provides warmth to prevent shock and hypothermia.

6) Load pictures of your animals onto a central website such as Facebook, Yahoo!, or other networking website if not already available to a microchip recovery organization like HomeAgain Companion Animal Recovery system.

7) Your pet can usually survive quite a while without food, but will die without a good supply of water. Plan to carry enough water in your vehicle for the people and pets in your household for 3 days time (1 gallon/person/day)

If you have the ability to evacuate your animals completely out of a disaster area to be kenneled elsewhere for a period of time, that is ideal. If you must return, return at first without the animals to lessen the burden on your community and protect the animals from lack of resources. Have a plan on where you can take your animals and a backup…many municipal shelters outside an affected area have the ability to provide emergency placement services, expand capacity for disaster recovery. Ask for foster assistance.

I hope these hints help.

Pamala M. currently works with rescues and animal non-profits in the Dallas, TX area. She has provided support for wildfire/ flooding operations for the American Red Cross in West Texas, and has supported recovery efforts for Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, Rita, and Ike.

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4 Responses to Guest Writer Pamala M. on Pet Preparedness

  1. Please cross-reference for comprehensive discussion of pet-centered disaster preparedness. Petfinder.com sponsors disaster recovery teams to enter affected areas once the disaster threat has cleared to support communities with animal issues. Also, please be aware that people willing to help animals around the U.S. blog and track these events and if you need help, reach out online, by SMS text, online by email or using FB. Phone lines may be busy, and cell towers jammed, but texting traffic and internet use a different frequency and can carry more messages at the same time. The person you reach may not be able to help directly, but they can make phone calls you cannot, with your information, and repost results for you to find as you can access networking resources. Remember: take your animals with you when you evacuate; you cannot predict what will happen to your home in the wake of a disaster.

  2. Pamala McBrayer says:

    To Animal Control Officials: Please consider the impact of evacuations and the scope of the disaster itself. I recommend to suspend normal euthanasia schedules /transfers to rescues in safe areas to protect potentially owned animals and the investment already made in the care of healthy, adoptable pets. Owners may experience difficulty returning to the area to claim an animal. Please consider temporary foster policies for owned or special needs animals to make room for found strays that will occur in the wake of a larger scale disaster and prepare for expanding capacity on temporary basis. Euthanasia in anticipation of a coming disaster to increase capacity is a poor management technique; we can do better for our communities than this! Part of what taxpayers pay for and expect is that municipal animal shelters will help their animal until it can be returned home/owner located–please do your best to help make that happen. Be humane, and be your best.

  3. Pamala McBrayer says:

    Beginning to hear of incidents in NC of animals left to weather storms by themselves, chained, outdoor kenneled with a dog house with food and water. Ladies and gentleman, if the storm is strong enough to make YOU leave your home to seek safety, why would any believe a dog house or kennel will safely protect of confine an animal? Cruel confinement should be defined as any confinement which was intentional and known to place the animal at risk of serious injury or possible death; it is animal cruelty. Again, people need to bring the animals with them or evacuate animals to a supervised, known safe location…like a boarding facility or a home of a friend inland, out of the path of the storm.

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