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In Preparing For Disasters, Americans Should Also Think Of Their Animals

September 14, 2010 by  

In preparing for disasters, Americans should also think of their animalsBetween natural and man-made disasters that continually threaten American citizens, it is important to constantly review and update family survival plans. However, since many people rely on farm animals for their economic well-being, and many more have pets who are integral parts of their families, emergency preparedness should also cover animals, experts say.

To help individuals prepare their four-legged friends for disaster survival, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is providing informational resources on how to go about doing so.

It says that, just like with human preparedness, the key is to start early. It is important to familiarize yourself with the kind of disaster that could happen in your area — including a hazardous materials spill — and plan accordingly.

Each family or farm should have an animal evacuation kit, complete with information about the type and number of animals, their medical history, proof of ownership and emergency contact information. Owners should identify alternate sources of food and water ahead of time, as well as places — such as pastures, racetracks, veterinary college grounds, etc. — where large animals can be evacuated in case of an emergency.

Individuals who keep livestock should ensure that barns and stables are structurally sound and promptly remove dead trees and other debris that could hinder an evacuation, AVMA experts further advise.

Moreover, animal and pet owners should always have well-maintained vehicles full of gas, and enough cash on hand.

Finally, each animal — regardless of whether they are domestic or livestock — should have proper and damage-resistant identification on them, such as a microchip, collar, tatoo, leg band or an ear tag.

In addition to man-made disasters, which can happen anywhere, different areas of the United States are prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires and floods.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19938760-ADNFCR

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  • Claire

    An article that I appreciate. Thank you, thank you. I remember Katrina and all the animals that were left to fend for themselves. A group of people from town went there several times and brought back a lot these animals and all were placed in homes. We had to donate crates and we had fundraisers for dog food. It was a good feeling to know that there are so many people willing to help. Personally, I have my dogs microchipped and they are listed in a data base. They are never left unattended, and I already have my game plan in place in case of an emergency. My van has 8 crates, first aid kit, bottled water, blankets, and I always have plenty of dog food readily available. If something happens, all I have to do is load up the dogs, throw in the dog food and I’m gone. Another thing, I always have my gas tank on full, one never knows what can happen.
    Several years ago, when the Illinois river flooded, a couple I know in Hillview, Il had 130 Davenport Arabians on their farm. Their farm was flooded–horrible. Anyway, lots of people took in these horses, people from other states that raise Arabians came in and took a number of them, the riding stables here in town and in other towns, a lot of vets took some of them (they live in the country) and the Animal Protective League took a few. I went with my vet’s wife, she drove a horse trailer and we got 4 of them. It was a wonderful sight. All these people and their horse trailers getting these horses out of harm’s way. All 130 horses were taken care of, it was one heck of a job. The foals were adorable. It was a good feeling to know that these horses were taken care of. It was wonderful to know and meet the caring people that all lent a hand.
    Everyone should be prepared. I think of Katrina and there is no way I could ever leave my dogs. I would stay with them if I had no other choice. Silly, I know but that is the way I am.

    • Fed Up Gal in NM

      Claire,

      You are so right, and yes it is both amazing and touching to see people (many complete strangers) caring for others’ animals/pets when the owners cannot.

      I housed a retired USMC [New Orleans] family who was able to eventually make it to Albuquerque with all their family members (including 3 cats and a neighbor’s dog). They had water in their home, not as bad as some; enough however that the neighbors had already gotten out. The neighbors dog somehow ended up under this home (a shotgun style home, duplex type) swimming in the crawl space and scratching underneath the wood floor of their home. This family ripped up the flooring and pulled the dog to safety inside their home. They were and still are wonderful people and they took wonderful care of all their pets (including the neighbors).

      Just thought I’d share this true story.

      • Claire

        Fed Up Gal in NM– Thank you for sharing your story. I am happy the dog was rescued. Kudos to those people! And God bless you. Always.

  • Jim H.

    Hi Claire, Even something as simple as taking your pets to the basement when the tornado siren goes off. We have the dog with us and the cat in a crate. During floods I see the news where livestock is trapped. These people knew for days the river was rising, why weren’t they busy getting a livestock hauler in there and arranging for a place to take them? Simple planning and common sense go a long way. Your dogs are lucky to have your for their people, no one will have to rescue and find homes for them.

    • Claire

      JimH–Yes, I agree, people should be prepared. These people had 130 horses, it took about 2 days to get them out and the flood waters rose so rapidly that everyone had to work fast and furious. I saw cows stranded, with their calves, even though they had enough sense to get to higher ground. Like you, I cannot understand why people do not get their animals out, especially when they know the river is rising. I sometimes think people go around with the attitude that “nothing is going to happern.” Wrong, one never knows. When tornadoes pop up, I always think of these animals that cannot get out of harm’s way.
      I have a room downstairs with another 8 crates– I just keep an eye on the weather-if severe storms are coming, I put them downstairs–ahead of time. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

      • TIME

        Claire & Jim,
        I think of ours as our four legged family members, we just picked up a new member a kitten who is now four months old.
        These babys are no differant than if they were our own kids, I have a horse that is 18 years old she is very happy with her new home, we take a walk with the dogs daily, she just loves that.
        So now the count is two cats, two dogs two horse’s.

        Plus we now have a whole heard of deer that live in our yard, two of them have let me pet them and feed them apples right out of my hand, and thats with only five months of our being at our new home. How cool is that?

        We are high enough floods will not be an issue, nor issues with weather,the only issue I forsee is if some type of civil unrest, that may present an issue. But at least in Georgia owning a gun is not a major pain in the butt like it was in New York so we should be fine.

        It is really sad how many folks just don’t care about thier smaller family members with four legs. I have always felt that these furry little babys are your true best friends.
        And no one would leave thier best friend behind, now would they?

        • 45caliber

          My wife and I live partly in the country. (One side is country, the ohter is the city line) We have a dog and three cats. Plus there is a lot of wild life in the area. We even set up water barrels for the wild life since water can sometimes be scarce. We both love animals of all sorts.

          But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t eat them if we had to.

          • Claire

            45caliber–That is good that you keep water available. My husband no longer is able to hunt but he has a lot of old hunting buddies, and a lot of them still hunt. A problem is when they go hunting near some of the ponds there is “blue algae” and this really makes a dog sick and if they don’t get proper treatment, they die from this algae. Gosh, years and years ago a person never had to worry about blue algae, etc. The water in ponds was pretty good way back when. Times have changed and not for the best.

        • Claire

          TIME– Bless your heart. I have no other words than that for you.

      • 45caliber

        Many people have no place to take their stock or other animals. Many have no families. And many people would want to take advantage of people trying to find a place for their animals as you said the family with the horses did. They would show up – and you’d never see them or the horses again. I would bet that the horse family belonged to an extended club that offered the help. Still, there should be some plan other than driving off and leaving them. When we ran from Ike, we took two BIG dogs and three cats in the van. One cat rode with me. We went to my son’s place and he didn’t mind the animals being there. (He has two cats of his own.) The dogs loved the ride both ways (12 hours going and 8 coming back) but the cats hated it.

        • Claire

          45caliber–My dogs love to ride in a vehicle. Gosh, when they hear the jingle of the car keys they are all ready to go. They are used to traveling, and they love it. They are funny. When they hear the shower running in the mornings, they get excited because they think they are going to get a bath and go to a dog show. They think they are human.

  • markpepper

    Pets can also be a food source in a pinch.

    • TIME

      OMG, I would shoot a human and eat them rather than kill my babys.

      • 45caliber

        Consider the large cities. If food supply is stopped, you will certainly see cannibals. That’s why you need a way to protect yourself.

        • Claire

          45caliber–You are probably right. It would be awful.

      • Claire

        TIME— I don’t think I could eat a human, just worms, grass, bugs, anything but my babies.

      • Fed Up Gal in NM

        TIME,

        You got that right! I’d defend my babies against the canibal; however, if there is ever some strange and cosmic societal shift in U.S. family-pet values…I say…Let’s start with the appetizer called “markpepper”….heh heh. Just kidding “mark”…you kinda set yourself up for that one. :-)

    • Claire

      markpepper—To me, that is cannibalism!! For shame!! I would eat grass, weeds, worms, anything before I would eat my dogs!

      • libertytrain

        Claire – if it got to that point of people eating their pets, one would know society as we know/knew it was totally gone and would more than likely not return and I could not imagine wanting to survive at that point.

        • Claire

          libertyrain–I agree. I hope and pray it never comes to that. Hey!! How about your girl? Is she home yet?

          • libertytrain

            yes she has been home since Thursday before Labor Day – while we have spoken, I have not seen her yet. Been dealing with the Father issues in Wisconsin this week – drove near you over the weekend – We stayed in Peru near LaSalle Saturday night – Oddly, I don’t know when I’ll get to see my daughter and her family with all these other things going on -

  • 45caliber

    Emergency preparation should cover animals in your care. If nothing else, they can make a good meal or two in hard times. My family MUST come first.

    • Claire

      45caliber–I love my kids and grandkids too, but they are grown adults. They are on their own just like I am on my own, me and my husband. They have dogs too and feel the same way I do.

  • http://gmail i41

    Animals aren’t humans and when ever we raised livestock, if feed costs got too high, cows, pigs, chickens, and rabbits all are good tasty critters to eat. They may be pets, but they sure taste good and tender. My 6 adult children and their spouses try to control global warming by eating as many tame and wild pets as possible. I’ve always enjoyed slaughtering wild game close to the homestead, keeps the price per pound costs way down.. The pet crap when going throught parks and on streets, it make sense to have Asians open eatiers in neighborhood, keeps cats and dogs numbers down to a reasonable problem and saves on shelter costs for the county or city.

    • Claire

      i41–I clean up after my dogs! I keep the backyard clean, their bedding clean, and their bodies clean. Sometimes I think I take care of them better than some lowlife parents. My dogs live a btter life than some kids. Did you ever stop and think that sometimes a pet is your best friend? The people in government sure as hell aren’t your friends. Look how many dogs have saved human lives. I have 8 dogs, out of this 8, 4 are therapy dogs. I take them to nursing homes and hospitals 1-2 times a month. It is a wonderful feeling when these elderly people and kids get such happiness out of seeing my dogs. I am a resposible pet owner. I will never allow them to get lost, etc. I will never abandon them.

      • Claire

        “better life”

        • Claire

          egads– responsible–I better proofread from now on before I hit submit!

      • Fed Up Gal in NM

        Claire,

        Don’t worry about i41; I figure he’ll just be the main course after we’re done with the appetizer (markpepper). Then there’ll be no need for people to look for our pets to eat…lol. Let them try; they’ll be sorry!

    • Claire

      i41– And I will add that if anyone and I mean anyone tried to “eat” my dogs, there would be nothing left but a hat and a pair of shoes by the time I got through with them. And believe me, this is no idle threat. I despise animal abusers.

    • Claire

      i41–Speaking of Asian people– I have an aunt and uncle in Sheboygan, WI–they had lived on their block for years. Anyway several humongs (sp) moved in on the block-there had to have been about 3-4 families living in one house. My aunt told me the neighborhood pets were disappearing at a rapid pace. They called the police and the police checked the humongs garbage and found dog and cat bones!

  • Jim H.

    If one has made the needed preparations, there won’t be a need to eat pets or other people. Just be prepared and use some sense.

    • Claire

      Jim H — I fully agree with your comment. Be prepared!

  • seigrella

    I have two dogs,my third dog died of cancer recently. I also have eight cats. My animals are my children and I will never forsake them. When I adopted them I promised to care for them for “ever”; they are tmy heirs. Also, I am a sharp shooter, never miss the bull’s eye, and will be more than happy to shoot to kill anyone that tries to injure3 any of my babies. And, if I run out of food and there are no alternate food options,I would rater die and let my animals eat my remais than watch them die of hunger.

  • http://gmail i41

    You can have and keep all the pets you want as long as they are feed, watered and given shelter. But in cases where people are told storms and disasters are coming, get prepared, don’t be knuckle head like along the coast, or in Katerina, when you are below water level, get the hooks out of you rears and get you and your pets gone. We move livestock and put in feed durning winter months. But don’t ask emergency personal to worry about pets until all people are safe. I will and have put a pet down several times in weather created disasters. But I don’t like to see suffering, there are alot worse things than death.

    • Claire

      i41–You are correct. I have to admit I would not ask emergency personnel to help my dogs, my dogs are my responsibility. And yes, if people know a hurricane or a flood is coming, then get out and take their animals with them. I don’t like to see suffering either.

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