Hurricane Season Begins: Remember Pets in Preparation

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday (May 31) a joint effort with the American Kennel Club, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Humane Society of the United States to encourage pet owners to prepare for emergencies. The Department's Ready Campaign and these animal health and welfare organizations developed a new brochure that highlights the key steps pet owners should take to prepare themselves and their animals.

This new emergency preparedness tool was announced by Homeland Security's Under Secretary for Preparedness George Foresman during the Humane Society's National Conference on Animals in Disaster in Arlington, Va.

"Tragedies like Hurricane Katrina serve as a serious reminder that emergency preparedness is important for all members of households, including pets," said Foresman. "We are pleased to partner with these important animal organizations to encourage Americans to take action to prepare for emergencies and consider the needs of their pets in that process."

The new brochure suggests making a pet emergency supply kit including food, water, medicines and medical records, collar with ID tag, a leash or harness, and a picture of the pet with its owner. It also recommends having an emergency plan and learning which shelters in their area and/or along their evacuation route will allow pets in the event of an emergency. In addition, the brochure urges pet owners to be informed and know about the types of emergencies that can happen where they live.

"It's important to consider your pets in your emergency plans," said Animal Expert and nationally syndicated Radio Host Warren Eckstein. "Pets rely on their owners for food, water, and shelter. Remembering your pets in your emergency plans can help minimize their stress and increase their odds of survival in an emergency."

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 63% of U.S. households or approximately 69.1 million homes in this nation have a pet. The likelihood that these Americans and their animals will survive an emergency depends largely on the individual emergency planning done today. Through its Ready Campaign, Homeland Security encourages all Americans to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the types of emergencies that can happen and their appropriate responses. 

For a free copy of the new emergency preparedness for pet owners brochure, or for more information about emergency preparedness for individuals, families and businesses, visit www.ready.gov, or call 800/BE-READY.

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