Disaster Preparedness & Planning for Pets: Protect the Pets You Love

In light of the tragic events of recent years both natural and man-made, we are realizing the need for disaster planning and preparedness. Finding information for our human family members is relatively simple. Finding help for furry and feathered members is much more of a challenge.

The remainder of this article discusses:
(Click each title to go directly to that section)

One of the most graphic examples of the need for pre-planning was the events of September 11, 2001. In an instant, hundreds of pets whose owners perished in the collapse of the World Trade Center were orphaned. Homes near Ground Zero could not be entered for many days. Most pets remained trapped in apartments throughout the city until they could be located and rescued. Fortunately, most of them were saved. But many were alone, traumatized and in need of water and/or medical attention when they were finally found. Sadly, this was before many were faced with the fact that their beloved owners would not be coming home.

Until a very short time ago, pets were not allowed in emergency shelters and not eligible for rescue with their owners. Many of us watched in horror as people in hurricane stricken regions refused to be rescued from their homes and rooftops without their pets. Statistics have shown that many more people and animals could have been saved had pets been eligible for rescue along with their owners.

Rescue organizations across the US went into the areas along the gulf coast in the weeks and months following the hurricanes to save the animals that were forced to be left behind. Once these pets were rescued, most could not be reunited with their owners. Shelters and sanctuaries were inundated with lost, scared and unhealthy animals. Most did not have the space, funds or other resources to properly care for these unexpected arrivals. We were collectively forced to make the best of a bad situation.

Some good has come from these tragedies. Humane organizations and sympathizers everywhere urged our government to take actions, such as:

The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act was signed into law in October of 2006. This Federal Law allows pets to be evacuated along with their owners in the event of an emergency. Some of the other provisions included are:

  • Local and state emergency preparedness authorities include plans for pets and service animals in disaster plans to qualify for FEMA grants.

  • FEMA is authorized to assist state and local communities in developing disaster plans that include pets and service animals.

  • Federal funds may be used to create pet-friendly emergency shelters.

  • FEMA may provide assistance to families with pets and the pets themselves following major disasters.

  • Special facilities were created for families with pets and/or foster homes for pets of displaced families.

  • Planning guides by FEMA, Red Cross, Humane Society and other organizations were prepared specifically for families with pets and made readily available.

  • Awareness of the importance of emergency pet planning was brought to the world’s attention.

Pets are more important to our families than ever before. Current studies estimate that there are roughly 358 million pets in the United States and they reside in 60 percent of our homes. Recent surveys show that 61% of people would refuse to evacuate if they could not take their pets with them. Dealing with the sheer volume of pets involved, planning in advance is a crucial step in keeping everyone safe.

My Peticulars has compiled all of the pet’s vital data into one complete package. We have placed all of the important facts, information and documentation into a convenient, user friendly format. Vaccination records and other important documents can easily be stored inside the folder. Additionally, we provide emergency home and travel signs and wallet cards. Our portfolios are easy to complete, share and update. Take a few minutes today to plan for the non-human members of your family.

Emergencies, by definition, come to pass when we least expect them. Generally, we tend to procrastinate or deny that traumatic events will happen to us. Remember, the people and pets at the center of the events described above were not planning to be in those situations either. We cannot prevent these tragedies from happening, but we can put the best plans possible in place, just in case. Include your pets in pre-disaster planning so they are protected, even in the midst of a crisis.

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and am not offering legal advice either express or implied. The information contained herein is my own opinion based on years of research. While every effort is made to provide the best, most accurate and most current information, guarantees cannot be made. If you have questions and/or concerns, please seek the counsel of an attorney, financial planner or other estate planning professional.



Featured Sanctuary

Honor Sanctuary, Inc.
7334 Delainey Court Sarasota,
FL 34240
Phone: 941-302-0933

click here for a list of sanctuaries

What type or brand of food do you feed you beloved pet dog?