Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pets in a Disaster

An essential part of preparing for an emergency is planning for your pet(s). With Hurricane Katrina, thousands of people in New Orleans were forced to leave their pets behind. They were not allowed to bring them to shelters or on evacuation buses. Many pets died, and with others it was often hard for owners to recover them.

Emergency management authorities are required to have a plan for handling pets in an emergency. Some have more of a plan than others. Fortunately, in the DC area, there's a partnership with the Humane Society to set up emergency shelters for animals in a disaster. (Note: Red Cross shelters do not allow animals, except service animals like seeing-eye dogs.)

It's best to not rely on that alone, however. Other options for hosting your pet may include friends, family, kennels, veterinarians offices, and hotels that allow pets. The Humane Society has information on how to prepare, as well as directories of pet-friendly hotels.