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Residents in the path of severe weather urged to include pets in disaster plans

Updated:

News release issued by the Humane Society:

(May 20, 2013)—As destructive tornadoes andother severe weather continue to threaten the Midwest and Plains regions, TheHumane Society of the United States urges residents to prepare by taking somesimple – but critical – steps to keep their pets safe.

While the path and impact of the storms arenot certain, pet owners in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Illinois should havean emergency plan that includes the safety of their animals. 

"It is crucial that residents remember thatif it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets," said Anne Sterling,Midwestern regional director for The HSUS. "We recommend finding a safe placeand keeping your pets with you. Pet owners should make sure to have carriersready for cats and small dogs, and leashes for larger dogs."

One of the most important things you can doto prepare for a natural disaster is make sure all pets are clearly identifiedwith a collar and tags. That will ensure that your pet can be returned to youin the event you are separated from each other.

In the event of a tornado, go with yourpets to lowest point in your house, such as a basement. If you do not have abasement, go to a windowless room or get in a bathtub under a mattress. Avoidstaying inside a mobile home or vehicle where it is unsafe—instead seek shelterin a building with a basement.

Dogs who are tethered as a means ofconfinement or other animals left outside may choke to death on tangled leadsor suffer other serious injuries. Pets should be brought inside and kept closein the event of hail or high winds. It's also important to provide for yourpets in the event you lose electricity, making certain they also have adequatefood and water. Horses should also have halters with proper identification.There may be times when taking your horses with you is impossible during anemergency. Consider your personal situation in deciding whether yourhorses would be better off in a barn or loose in a field.

Things you can do right now:

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    • Put a collar with visible identification on your pets, including indoor-only pets.
    • Keep pictures of your pets on hand for identification purposes. Ideally, you should also be in the photo.
    • Create a pet emergency kit (see below). Items should be refreshed every few months.
    • Talk to your neighbors about how they can help your pets if you are not at home if disaster strikes.
    • Create a list of hotels that allow pets. Know where you can take your horses: Make arrangements with a friend or another horse owner to stable your horses if needed.

This emergency supply kit shouldinclude:

  •  
    • Three-or-more-day supply of food in airtight, waterproof container, and drinking water.
    • Bowls for food and water.
    • Current photos and physical description of your pets, including details on markings.
    • Medications, vaccination records and pet first aid supplies.
    • Comfort items such as a toy and blanket.
    • Small garbage bags.
    • For dogs include: leash, harness and a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area.
    • For cats include: litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport.
    • For horses include: Coggins tests, veterinary papers, identification photographs and vital information such as medical history and emergency phone numbers.

Pet owners should be aware that manytemporary shelters do not accept pets. Hotels and motels may be willing to lift"no pet" restrictions in an emergency. Friends and family members livingoutside the area may be able to provide shelter too.  Pet owners shouldremember that having your pet microchipped dramatically increases the chancedof reunion if that pet becomes lost.

For more tips on preparedness plans thatinclude your pets, visit humanesociety.org/prepare.

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