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Friday, May 31, 2013
Protect Your Pets/Livestock During a Hurricane
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The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1st and runs through November 30th. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an extremely active season with a 70% chance of 13 to 20 named storms. Approximately 7 to 11 of these storms could become hurricanes. The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is urging pet owners to prepare for disaster! Houston SPCA President Patricia Mercer says the best way to protect your family is to have a plan in place before disaster strikes.
Photograph each pet and store these pictures with other important documents in sealed/waterproof plastic bags. Make sure that all animals are up-to-date on their vaccinations. All dogs and cats should wear collars and identification tags with current information. Mercer says, “It’s also a good idea to include the name and phone number of a friend OUTSIDE the greater Houston area in case local phone service is not functioning immediately following a disaster.” Dogs should wear nylon or leather collars only. Never place tags on training collars or choke chains. Cats should wear a breakaway/safety collar.
The Houston SPCA also encourages families to pack a portable pet disaster kit to include food, water, medication, vaccination records and cleaning supplies. Make sure your pet has a safe traveling carrier that has been labeled with your emergency contact information. You should plan on enough supplies for at least two weeks. Take your pet’s favorite toy or blanket with you to help minimize his/her stress.
If you must evacuate, take your pet with you! If conditions are unsafe for people, they are unsafe for pets. Pet owners should identify an evacuation route and make temporary housing arrangements before a storm hits. This often means finding a boarding facility or animal shelter out of the evacuation area and in the area where the family will be staying.
It is particularly important to plan for horses and other farm animals. Their size, shelter and transportation needs make planning crucial.