Property Management Tips for Taking Care of Fido and Fluffy in a Disaster
When making a disaster preparedness plan, don’t forget your furry and winged family members. Pets are a growing segment of the multifamily population and need to have a kit and a plan, too, in case of emergency.
Many times, pets are purposely or inadvertently left behind in natural or man-made disasters because caring for them creates its own set of obstacles. And home disaster relief kits are usually devoid of dog chow and tins of tender morsels.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, numerous citizens placed themselves in harm’s way because they didn’t want to leave their animals behind. Many others were forced to leave without their pets, adding to the anguish for these hurricane victims who had already lost so much.
The American Red Cross understands the importance of pets to their owners. In addition to our pet and disaster safety resources, we’re working with public and private organizations, as well as individuals dedicated to animal care in local communities, to assist concerned pet owners during disasters.
Others are helping, too.
In 2006, Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, requiring state and local governments to incorporate pets and service animals into disaster planning. Like the Red Cross, the ASPCA offers a preparedness plan.
Preparing your pets for a disaster is much like formulating a plan for yourself. Just follow the Red Cross’s three easy preparedness steps: Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.
For starters, never leave your pets behind. Always take them with you because they cannot cope by themselves. Pets are not allowed in human shelters due to health department regulations; only service animals can stay with their human. If you can’t bear to be separated from Fido or Fluffy, seeking out pet-friendly hotels in advance can make relocation easier and minimize stress for both of you. Create a list of hotels within an hour’s drive that accept pets and put that information with your family disaster plan.
Also, build a kit. Get a basin and start by putting food and water in it. Do five things a week. Add to it. It doesn’t need to be done all at once.
Some things your kit should include:
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers for transport
- Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan and a manual can opener
- Medications and copies of medical records stored in a water-proof container
- First aid kit
- Current photos of your pet
- Information on feeding schedules and contact information for your veterinarian
And most of all, don’t forget the catnip toys or tethered balls!