The Star-Herald

Pet safety in a disaster

We hope everyone has had the chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful summer days that we have had.  The days have been long and warm with spectacular sunsets to marvel at. We are truly blessed up here in The County.

Not all areas provide the safe environment that we tend to enjoy.  Just hearing of devastating storms that level a community, windswept wildfires that show no mercy for whatever is in their paths, mudslides, earthquakes, floods, volcano eruptions — I can’t even begin to imagine what these people are going through.  To have their homes, personal possessions and life as they know it lost in the blink of an eye. And then I think of the many pets whose lives are affected as well. “What do I do? Where do I begin to pick up the pieces, how can I protect and care for a pet, when my life is turned upside down?”  Those feelings must be terrifying.

Planning in advance for an emergency is something that we should all take the time to do.   FETCH! Pet Care and The Humane Society of the United States have a few tips to help keep us aware.

First of all, make sure your pets are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with your pet if they are microchipped.  Also be sure a current phone number is on your pets’ tags.

If you have to evacuate, plan how you will assemble your pets and anticipate where you will go. Take your pets with you, if practical. If you go to a public shelter, keep in mind your pets may not be allowed inside.  Find a safe place to stay ahead of time. Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pets to an emergency shelter. Before disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets.  Also contact hotels and keep a list of animal friendly places in the event of an emergency.

Develop a buddy system. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and also designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood and other farther away, where you will meet in an emergency. 

Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an emergency supply kit for yourself, your family and your pets, are the same regardless of the type of emergency. However, it’s important to stay informed about what might happen and know what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region. With simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected. Those who take the time to prepare themselves and their pets will likely encounter less difficulty, stress and worry. Take the time now to get yourself and your pet ready.

Keeping you and your four-legged family member safe is essential in surviving any type of disaster.

Stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society or check us out on petfinders.com and Facebook.  Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, closing for lunch 12-12:30. Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

“I’ve met many thinkers and many cats, but the wisdom of cats is infinitely superior” (Hippolyte Taine).

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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