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Be Prepared

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Disaster Planning Tips for Pet/Livestock Owners

  • If you evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind. Pets probably cannot survive on their own, or you may not be able to find them when you return.
  • Make sure identification tags are securely fastened to your pet's collar. Attach the address and phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
  • Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.
  • Pack a “pet survival” kit with pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies.
  • If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to house your pet. Most kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
  • For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. If you cannot take your pet with you to a temporary shelter, contact friends, family, veterinarians or boarding kennels to arrange for care. Make sure medical and feeding information, food, medicine and other supplies accompany your pet to his foster home. Note: Some animal shelters will provide temporary care for owned pets in times of disaster, but this should be a last resort.
  • If you have to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take. Keep your pet in a safe area inside - Never leave your pet chained outside! Place notices outside in a visible area, saying what pets are in the house and where. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached and the name and number of your vet. Remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place him in great danger!


Tips for People Who Encounter Wildlife During a Disaster

  • Wild animals often seek higher ground. Animals will flee from anyone approaching too closely. If the animal threatens to rush into water, back away or you may frighten him into jumping into the water to escape.
  • Wildlife may seek refuge from flood waters on upper levels of a home and stay inside even after the water goes down. If you find an animal, be careful but don't panic. Open a window or other escape route and the animal will probably leave on its own. Never attempt to capture a wild animal unless you have the training, protective clothing, restraint equipment and caging necessary.
  • Beware of an increased number of snakes and other predators who will try to feed on reptiles, amphibians and small mammals who have been drowned or crushed in their burrows or under rocks.
  • During natural disasters, mosquitoes and dead animals may present disease problems. Outbreaks of anthrax, encephalitis and other diseases may occur. Contact your local emergency management office for help.
  • If you see an injured or stranded animal in need of help, or you need help with getting an animal out of your home, please contact your local animal control office or animal shelter.


Tips for Livestock Owners

Evacuate livestock whenever possible. Plan multiple evacuation routes and sites in advance.

  • The evacuation sites should have food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and facilities.
  • Trucks, trailers, and other vehicles for transporting livestock (appropriate for transporting each specific type of animal) should be available along with experienced handlers and drivers to transport them.
  • If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to move large animals to available shelter or turn them outside. This decision should be made based on the type of disaster and the safety and location of the shelter.


All animals should have some form of identification that will help in their return.


Your disaster plan should include a list of emergency phone numbers for your veterinarian, state veterinarian, local animal shelter, animal care and control, county extension service, local agricultural schools and the American Red Cross. These numbers should be kept with your disaster kit in a secure place.


For additional information, please contact:

The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L. Street, NW
Washington, DC. 20037
Attn: Disaster Services Program
Phone: (202) 452-1100
Or visit the Humane Society Website


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