Metro Animal Control and Welfare Disaster Plans for Pets
Do you have a plan for your pets in case of an earthquake, flood, fire or other disaster? In the event of an emergency, a well-practiced disaster program will not only reduce stress but also save precious time and lives. Listed below are Metro Animal Control and Welfare’s recommendations to help keep you and your animals safe and calm during a disaster.
Before Disaster Strikes
Identify Your Pet: Keep your pet’s license current and make sure that a collar and identification tag is worn at all times. Consider having a safe, permanent microchip implanted in your pet; this ID cannot be removed or lost.
Crate Train Your Pet: Train your cat to enter its carrier at your command. Do this by putting your cat’s favorite treat in their carrier and sounding a bell at the same time. Repeat this process every day, until your cat comes running at the sound of the bell. Continue this routine often enough to keep it fresh in your cat’s mind. This training will be extremely helpful in locating a frightened indoor/outdoor cat. Dogs should also be trained to come on command.
Secure Bird Cages and Fish Tanks: Because these items may move and/or break during a disaster, securing them on low stands or tables will be helpful. Also, tighten the latch on your bird cage so that the door cannot be shaken open easily.
Develop a Neighborhood Plan: Get to know your neighbors and their pets. Keep an updated list of how to contact them in case of an emergency.
Prepare a First Aid Kit for Your Pets: This kit should include:
• Large and small bandages
• Antibiotic ointment
• Hydrogen Peroxide
• Elastic Tape
• Eye wash and ear cleaning solutions
• K-Y Jelly (water soluble)
• Any medications prescribed by your Vet
Following a Disaster
In Case of Evacuation: Red Cross Shelters do not accept pets. So, prepare a list of back-up arrangements, such as homes of friends and family, hotels, which allow pets, boarding facilities, vet hospitals and/or animal shelters.
It is not recommended that you leave your pet behind when evacuating, but if you must, follow these guidelines to help ensure your pet’s safety:
• Post a highly visible sign in a window to let rescue workers know how many and what type of pets were left behind.
• Leave plenty of water in a large open container which cannot be tipped over.
• Leave food in timed feeders (check local pet stores). These will prevent your pet from eating a week’s worth of food in one day.
• Do not tie or cage your pet, as the chances for survival are greater if they can escape easily.
If Your Pet Becomes Lost: Immediately call or visit Metro Animal Control and Welfare Shelter to report your pet missing. Understand that we will be extremely busy. When deemed safe, return to your neighborhood to post and distribute lost animal posters, which include your name, home address and phone number. Continue to search your area for your missing pet, a frightened animal can stay hidden for several days.
If You Find a Lost Pet: Notify Metro Animal Control and Welfare at 235-8398 as soon as possible. Be prepared to give a full description of the animal (i.e. breed, color and/or sex) and its location. Remember that sick and/or injured animals can become unpredictable from the stress of an injury and should be handled by professionals familiar with proper handling techniques.
Pet Disaster Kit
A prepared disaster kit, kept in a safe and easily accessible place, will enable you to provide immediate care to your animal in an emergency. A calm, well-trained animal who is either on a leash or in a carrier, will be more welcomed wherever you go. Items to include:
• Sturdy crate and/or carrier
• Food/Water, 7 day supply for each pet
• Non-spill bowls
• Litter and litter box
• Any special medications
• Manual can opener and plastic lids
• Copy of your pet’s current vaccination history
• Pet First Aid Book
• Pet First Aid Kit
• Phone number of your Vet
• Phone number for Metro Shelter 235-8398
• Long-term confinement equipment such as chains, cable runs and/or tie-out stakes and portable caging
• Large plastic bags for cat litter disposal and dog clean up
• Newspapers and paper towels
• Emergency phone numbers
Disaster Preparedness Plans For Large Animals
Do you have an emergency plan in case of an earthquake, fire or flood? What will you do with your horses, cows, llamas, sheep, pigs, etc.? Listed below are Metro Animal Control and Welfare’s recommendations to keep you and your animals safe and calm before, during and after a disaster.
Before Disaster Strikes
BE PREPARED! REDUCE HAZARDS
• Maintain a firebreak around all buildings.
• Mow weeds and trim trees, which reside close to any buildings.
• Regularly clean roofs and gutters.
• Repair exposed wires, rotten supports and clocked waterways.
• Clearly label all shut-offs.
• Store combustibles such as hay, straw, wood, shavings and/or gasoline away from animal barns.
• Remove overhanging trees that may fall on animals or buildings.
• Keep an adequate water source near your animals.
Identify Your Animals: Keep all animal vaccinations current and photographs, papers and other identifying documents in a safe and easily accessible location. Brand, tag, freeze brand, tattoo or implant your animals with a permanent microchip.
Develop a Barn Safety and Evacuation Plan: Your evacuation plan should outline each type of disaster and determine specific scenarios best suited for each situation. It should include a list of resources such as trucks, trailers, pasture and/or feed which might be needed in an evacuation as well as a designated person who will unlock gates and doors and make your facility easily accessible to emergency personnel.
• Post your plan in a clearly visible place.
• Make sure everyone who lives, works or boards at your barn is familiar with the plan.
• Get to know your neighbors and their animals. And who will be ready to assist, should a disaster occur when you are not at home.
• Learn to handle your neighbor’s animals and identify those, which have special handling needs.
• Post updated phone list of all neighbors and anyone who boards at your facility.
Prepare a Disaster Kit: Successful disaster preparedness depends on knowing where emergency equipment is stored and keeping it easily accessible. Your facility should be equipped with ladder(s) long enough to reach the roof, cotton ropes, shovels, rakes, water buckets, flashlights or lanterns, blankets and a minimum of 100 feet of hose. Restraining equipment such as cotton halters, cotton lead ropes, collars, whips, hog snares, blindfolds, fence panels and wire kits are also a must in an emergency. Have an adequate, portable first aid kit and battery powered radio ready at all times.
During and Following a Disaster
Your personal safety and that of those around you should always be your first concern. A pre-determined plan will help you remain calm and think clearly. Remember to communicate and cooperate with all emergency personnel. If you must leave the premises, let someone know where you are going and try to remain in contact with that person.
In the Event of Fire: Do not enter buildings that are already burning, smoke inhalation will slow you down and possibly kill you. Contact emergency personnel immediately. Report changes in wind direction, speed and fire behavior. Post a lookout for possible dangers. Have your trailer hitched and pointed towards the road. Leave barn doors unlocked. Put halters on animals and have the gates unlocked but secured. If you believe that the barn will burn before emergency personnel will arrive, release the animals to a safer location. Animals often will return to a place they know as home, but you should not enter buildings that are already burning. Leave this to fully equipped emergency personnel. Smoke inhalation can slow you down and kill you. If you are caught out in the open when the fire hits, seek areas with sparse vegetation or bare ground. Avoid trying to out run the head of the fire, instead watch for slower burning flanks. Do not attempt to control the animals that are with you. Let them go free, they will have a better chance of escaping the fire.
In the Event of an Earthquake: During the quake, remember to stop, drop and hold. Once the tremors have stopped, take a good look around. Do not enter buildings that may have become unstable during the quake. Like you, your animals will be frightened and need reassurance. If an animal has become injured or trapped, call emergency personnel immediately. Be prepared for aftershocks.
In the Event of a Flood: If you receive notice of rapidly rising waters, move all animals, feed and water to higher ground. Escape routes may be cut off quickly so avoid leaving animals in standing water or in areas that can be easily cut off by the flood.
If You Must Leave Animals Behind: Post highly visible signs (either on a window or door) letting rescue workers know the breed and number of animals, which remain. Leave plenty of food and water in an adequate container that cannot be tipped over. Place extra food close to the animals so rescue workers can feed them daily. Do not tie the animals or leave them confined in an area that may be easily destroyed. Loose animals on roads or highways can be easily injured and interfere with emergency rescue vehicles, so the animals should be directed towards a safer area, such as a pasture.
If Your Animal Becomes Lost: Immediately call or visit Metro Animal Control and Welfare. When deemed safe, return to your neighborhood to post and distribute lost animal posters, which include your name, address, phone number, a description of the animals and a picture of the animal. Animals may stay hidden for weeks, so be patient and continue searching your area.
If You Find an Animal: If you should find an animal, please notify Metro Animal Control and Welfare at 235-8398, as soon as possible and be prepared to give a full description of the animal and it’s location. Remember that sick and/or injured animals can become unpredictable from the stress of an injury and should be handled by a professional familiar with proper handling techniques.
What Can You Do to Help:
• Help organize a neighborhood rescue group.
• Get your Vet involved.
• Prepare yourself and your family.
• Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.