Be prepared to take your pet with you! If an area has been deemed unsafe for people, it’s also unsafe for your pets. Structural damage to homes as well as contaminated food and water pose great risks to a pet left alone during a disaster. Even if you only plan on leaving for a few hours, take your pets with you.
Often, people are away from their homes longer than expected. Some things to keep in mind are:
- Make sure your pets always have up to date identification. You may want to include contact information for someone outside your area who can be reached in case phone services are down in the disaster area. Have your pet microchipped and keep the registration information up-to-date.
- Find possible places to evacuate ahead of time. Many evacuation shelters do not accept animals and you may want to consider a pet friendly motel or home of a friend or relative as an evacuation site. Boarding facilities and local animal shelters may also be an option. Liberty Humane Society maintains a list of pet-friendly hotels in the area.
- Always have a recent photo of your pet with you in case you are separated. Photos are an invaluable tool when locating a missing pet.
- When you leave your home, leave a large message for rescuers that people and pets have left the home. You may want to paint on a piece of wood “All people/animals safe” and attach it to a visible location on your home. This saves rescuers valuable time.
Important Things to Have When Evacuating with Your Pet
- All pertinent records and medical information for your pet. Information such as medical history, licensing, and owner and alternate contact information should be included. It’s a good idea to place copies of this info in a sealed plastic bag (zip top). Keep this taped on the inside of the carrier at all times. You will not waste valuable time looking for these important items if evacuated.
- Food, water, and bowls. Make sure you set aside some bottled water for your pet, as well as any special food, dietary, or medical needs your pet may need. It’s a good idea to also bring newspaper, handy wipes for cleaning and a can opener for preparation purposes.
- A carrier large enough to accommodate your cat as well as a small litter box and food and water. Your cat may have to spend a considerable amount of time in the carrier and should have all the comforts of home.
If You’re Not Home When an Evacuation is Ordered
- Ensure you have a reliable neighbor who can evacuate your pet for you. Have a plan set up with them for such an event to avoid confusion. A pet sitting or dog walking service may also be an option for this type of arrangement. Make sure you have a meeting spot outside of the affected area to reclaim your pet.
Sometimes, You Simply Cannot Take Your Pet
- Place your pet in the most secure place in the house. High ground is best when leaving a pet behind, as they will be able to avoid any flooding that may occur.
- Ensure you provide your pet with more than enough food and water. You may want to leave an entire bag of food (or more) out in case you cannot return for some time. Setting up a pan or bowl with a slow drip from a faucet will ensure your pet has a reliable source of water. Also, fill a bathtub or sinks with water before you leave. Leave toilet bowl lids open.
- Leave a sign outside your home, allowing rescuers to readily identify your home as one with animals inside. Rescuers are often granted access to disaster areas much sooner than residents and can help to reunite you and your pet that much sooner.
New Jersey Resources
Contact These Local Groups for Further Information and Assistance...
- The Liberty Humane Society (201) 547-4147 www.libertyhumane.org *Primary Contact for Jersey City
- Associated Humane Society of Newark (973)824-7080 *Assistance for Hudson County
- Hudson County Animal League 201-200-1008 *General Information
- For evacuation information on horses and livestock, call HSUS at (202)452-1100 or visit www.HSUS.org