During Hurricane Sandy, many pet owners became aware that natural disasters don’t just affect their homes and family members – pets are vulnerable to them as well. Pet owners have shared that during Hurricane Sandy they had to find replacement homes for their pets or leave them with extra food and hope for the best, according to The Huffington Post. Volunteers have recounted seeing dogs swimming to safety through flooded streets and cats trying to find high ground out of the reach of water.
Makeshift shelters have been set up around the area and have served hundreds of animals in need of help. In New York City and Long Island, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has treated more than 300 animals at shelters and provided supplies for up to 13,000, according to spokeswoman Emily Schneider. Nationally, pet lovers are doing what they can to provide pet care. A Detroit-based rapper, Hush, drove through the night to deliver pet food to New York, and talk show host Rachael Ray donated thousands of dollars to assist families who lost pets in the hurricane.
Pet owners should use this disaster as a reminder to take precautions with the animals in their lives. ASPCA suggested that pet owners have an emergency plan in place for their animals. The first thing a pet owner should do is put a rescue alert sticker in a window to let people know pets are inside the home. These stickers let rescue workers know the types and number of pets in the home, as well as the name of the family veterinarian and his or her phone number.
If there is news of bad weather approaching or of a possible evacuation, pet owners should do everything they can not to leave their animals behind. This includes creating a safe haven where the animals can stay in the event of an evacuation and identifying hotels and motels that accept animals.
Sometimes pet owners need to leave quickly with their pets, so it’s best if they have a travel kit on hand that includes animal supplies. Kits should include canned or dry food, an extra collar and leash, pet shampoo, disposable garbage bags and copies of pets’ medical records, among other things. By preparing early, pet owners can reduce the chance their animals would be left behind in the event of an emergency.