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Pet Owners Encouraged to Think Ahead, Prepare to Keep Animals Safe in Natural Disasters

29 May 2015 1:56 PM | Deleted user

When there is the threat of an impending storm or hurricane, residents may be asked to evacuate; but local pet rescue groups want to remind residents to not leave their pets behind.

Lynne Jennings is the co-founder of K9 Airlift, a nonprofit organization that helps rescue animals and provides transportation for rescued animals to other parts of the country where there are not problems with pet over-population.

Since the organization started, Jennings takes in animals that have been neglected or abused on their property and nurse them back to health. It was during the drought when fires threatened their property and Jennings learned how to properly prepare animals and their property for high winds, large amounts of rain and damage from debris.

“In any case of emergency, it’s important to prepare for the animals, such as purchasing extra food, having water and their medications as well as a pet transport carrier for the smaller animals,” Jennings said. “If they call for an evacuation ahead of the hurricane, bring the animals with you, never leave them behind.

“There are many things that can happen, such as fallen trees or power lines in the yard, high winds could send debris flying everywhere and they could run out of food and water.”

Jennings encourages pet owners to have pet transportation carriers for every small animal that is easily transported, such as cats, dogs, birds and rabbits.

She also encourages pet owners to purchase the pet carriers before there is even the threat of a storm since they are one of the first things to be purchased when a hurricane is headed for a particular area.

For the larger animals, such as horses and cows, Jennings encourages owners to connect with ranches or land owners out of the area to coordinate the possibility of transport and keep the animal at that location until the storm and danger has passed.

During large storms that have come through the area, Jennings has found a way to secure the barn and the smaller animals, especially chickens and roosters, to keep them safe from the high winds and heavy rain.

“The high winds are especially dangerous for chickens because it will blow them around, into fences or they will be gone,” Jennings said. “Also, if the area floods, it is important to make sure the carriers and small animals are safely secured so they don’t drown or are carried away by floodwaters.”

In case of an evacuation, Jennings encourages pet owners to call ahead to the shelter they are expected to stay at since many don’t accept animals. If the shelter doesn’t accept animals, Jennings encourages those pet owners to call businesses who board animals to see if they can keep the animal until it is safe to return back home.

The SPCA also has several tips for pet owners to follow in case of a hurricane:

Get a rescue alert sticker a homeowner can stick onto windows so people know a pet is inside of the home.

Arrange a safe haven:

1. Contact the veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.

2. Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.

3. Identify hotels or motels outside of the immediate area that accept pets.

4. Ask friends and relatives outside the immediate area if they would be willing to take in the pet.

Geographic and climate conditions — some pets are more vulnerable to changes in the weather or geography so pet owners are encouraged to keep that in mind if they evacuate.

Have a pet first-aid kit with emergency supplies, such as medicine, litter, five to seven days’ worth of food and water, bedding and towels.

For more information or tips on how to keep animals safe during storms and hurricanes, visit

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