In the event of disasters, you need to take steps to not only protect yourself but your pets and livestock as well.
Plan ahead of time for a safe place to take your pets and livestock in the event of an evacuation.
During an evacuation, shelters run by the American Red Cross cannot accept animals or pets, except for service animals who assist people with disabilities.
Find out whether friends, relatives, pet-friendly hotels, boarding kennels or , or humane societies, stables or racetracks, or private farms outside your immediate area can shelter your animals in the event of a disaster. Also, make arrangements with trustworthy neighbors for pet and livestock care if a disaster strikes and you cannot get home in time to evacuate. This person should have access to your animals and be familiar with them.
To determine the locations of established pet shelters and/or pet friendly shelters, call your Municipality ahead of time or listen for announcements. Some shelter managers try to provide space for pets that are leashed and have their own portable carriers.
In case you must leave the area with your pet, you should also prepare a disaster travel kit that includes:
- Re-sealable plastic bag containing copies of Pet License, microchip, tattoo and/or ID, photos of pet (from all angles and with owner(s), proof of up to date vaccinations and name/phone of their veterinarian (most boarding facilities and emergency animal shelters will require proof of current rabies and annual vaccinations).
- Proper size metal or plastic pet carrier
- Leashes and obedience aids
- Non-spill water and food bowls
- Pet foods, including special diets
- Water in sanitized non-breakable containers
- Special medications, with instructions
- Special needs items for exotic pets, such as a heat source
- Newspapers, paper towels, handy-wipes, can openers, a flashlight, and blankets
For livestock, include:
- Plastic trash barrel with lid, a water bucket
- Leg wraps, fire-resistant non nylon leads and halters, cotton rope
- First aid items, portable radio and a flashlight with extra batteries, a backup generator
- Sharp knife, wire cutters, tarpaulins, lime and bleach
- ID packet in a re-sealable plastic bag, including photos from all sides, microchip, tattoo, registration papers, and a record of each animal’s age, sex, breed and color. Place duplicates in travel trailer.
- Medical records and medications or special diets, emergency cash
If you must evacuate and leave your livestock, look at your property and identify the best place for your animals in each type of disaster. Leave enough water for the length of time you expect to be gone, as automatic watering systems will fail if power is lost. Test-run backup generators and make sure they are full of fuel. Also make sure each animal and halter is permanently identified. If a disaster strikes before you can identify your animals by tattoo, microchip, brand or tag, paint or etch hooves, use neckbands or paint your telephone number on the side of the animal before you move it.
Ocean County has a H.E.L.P. (Help In Emergencies for Livestock and Pets) Organization. When a disaster occurs, they will respond the scene of an emergency to house or care for impacted animals.
After the disaster has ended and you are your pets return to your home, be careful about allowing your pets outdoors unattended and off-leash. The disaster may have altered familiar scents and landmarks and your pet could easily get confused and become lost. In addition, sharp objects, downed electric lines, fallen trees and other debris, or contaminated water, as well as raccoons, skunks or other wild animals that have entered the area, could present danger to your pet.
If any animals are lost during the disaster, contact veterinarians, humane societies, pet shelters, and other facilities that might house animals. Be prepared to identify and document ownership when claiming lost livestock. The United States Department of Agriculture Missing Pet Network (www.missingpet.net) may be of assistance.
To learn more ways to protect your animals in an emergency: