Hurricane Season: Have a Plan for Your Companion Animal

Hurricane Season: Have a Plan for Your Companion Animal
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When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast last year, thousands of animals were left in death traps that they couldn’t escape. PETA’s rescue teams saw animals who were clinging to trees surrounded by toxic floodwaters, swimming madly toward rescuers who were not permitted to rescue them, and pacing, stranded, and left to die on rooftops and balconies. The nation watched as our animal companions—who rely on humans for their safety—were abandoned.

We must learn from these tragedies. The 2006 hurricane season is here. Take a moment to review the important tips below and make sure that you and your neighbors are ready for what may hit this season.
Make Your Animal’s Safety a Priority: Be Prepared!

We encourage everyone to take a few minutes while conditions are secure to plan ahead and make arrangements for their animal companions’ safety in the event of natural disasters. The following are five disaster tips that you should know and tell others:

1. Do not leave animals behind. There is no way of knowing what may happen to your home while you are away, and you may not be able to return for days or even weeks. Animal companions left behind may become malnourished, dehydrated, or crushed by collapsing walls. They may drown or escape in fear and become lost.
2. Know your destination ahead of time. Shelters often do not accept animals, but motels in the area will probably accept dogs, cats, and other small animals in an emergency. Call destinations in advance, and find out which ones will accommodate you and your animals.
3. Place small animals in secure carriers. Dogs should be leashed with harnesses. Take water and food bowls, a towel, and enough food for a week.
4. All animals should have collars with identification. Make sure that you have a current photo of your animal companion for identification purposes, just as you would have for a child.
5. If you absolutely must leave your animal companions behind, leave them inside the house, with access to upper floors. Leave out at least 10 days’ supply of dry food and water. Fill multiple sinks, bowls, pans, and plastic containers with water. Do not turn animals loose outside to fend for themselves, and never tie them up or leave them outside in cages, where they will be unable to flee rising floodwaters.

Donate to PETA and help support our work for animals, including our disaster response teams, our transport and care of rescued animals, our efforts to send disaster preparedness information to media outlets before storms hit, and our assistance of stricken communities in times of need.

Preparing a step-by-step advance plan for the entire family will help to ensure the safety of all your loved ones in case of emergency.
You Can Help!

Last year, in Katrina’s aftermath, PETA staff members worked tirelessly to rescue more than 300 abandoned animals in New Orleans. This year, PETA will be providing vital support and information to areas expected to be hit worst by predicted disasters, so that animals won’t have to wait for a rescue that may never come.


One comment

  1. You’re so right that we must each make a plan to evacuate, or take care of ourselves for some period of time if need be, and that includes our pets. In addition to your very helpful article, the Red Cross is an excellent resource for supplies and information. I think part of the challenge, when it comes to the general public, is that most people did not see the devastating impact the hurricane and its aftermath had on the animal population of New Orleans and the gulf coast in general. The media told the human side of the drama, then packed up and went home when the animal rescues were just getting underway. That’s why a ground-breaking new film, Dark Water Rising: The Truth About Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescues, is the “smoking gun” that demonstrates the toll of human failures had on the animal population. Check out the trailer at Each of us should have a plan and should impress upon our legislators and members of Congress that they need to accomodate animals in evacuation plans and codify this requirement into law.

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