September 28, 2005

Disaster Planning for Pets


Q:Listening to the plight of all the animals after Katrina, Iím worried about my own animals if a disaster should ever strike our area.Is there anything that I can do to be more prepared?


A:Itís always good to be prepared in case of any emergency.Most people think of preparing for their family, but they often overlook the needs of their furry family.Make sure you have three days of food and water set aside for your pets.Put any medications, a leash, collar, toys, treats, and copies of vaccination records in a Ziploc bag and keep with the food.Include written instructions for the care of your petótype and amount of food, medication amounts (if any), their normal routine (how often they go potty, what they like to play, etc.), and emergency numbers for people in your area as well as outside of your area who may be able to care for your pets in an emergency.Check with your local Administration Office and see if there is a disaster plan in place that includes pets.Fluvanna County is fortunate enough to have an Emergency Operation Plan for the County that includes animals.If a disaster is declared, people will be informed of the location of local shelters for evacuation of humans.Animals may be brought to the Fork Union Community Center while their humans are in the evacuation shelters.If at all possible, itís a good idea to bring a crate and the emergency kit that youíve set aside so all the instructions are with the animal as well as their shot records.Always make sure your animals have ID tags on their collars. Evacuation shelters are set up ONLY during a ďDeclared Disaster,Ē not during every storm.Stay tuned to your radio to find out if there is a declared disaster in your area when storms approach. Also have a list of animal-friendly hotels or friends houses outside of your area where you can evacuate with your animals if needed.You may want to leave before an evacuation is required to avoid the last minute rush and decrease the stress on everyone involved.If you have a destination set up ahead of time, you will know exactly where to go and can calmly take your family to safety where you can all stay together until the dangers pass.Take the time to plan and care for your family.


Remember that an emergency may not only be a natural disaster. You may end up in the hospital and need someone to go in and care for your animals.If you have everything necessary set aside in one place, this makes it easier for the caretaker.Itís also a good idea to put a card in your wallet explaining that you have animals at home that need care if you are incapacitated.Be sure to list an emergency contact so someone can be contacted to care for your animals and where the supplies may be found. Being prepared for the unexpected will give you peace of mind during a very stressful time.Donít wait until disaster strikes--sit down with your family and make a plan today that includes everyone.


Note from the Pet Lady:My hat is off to Fluvanna County and the animal-minded members of the community who have worked together to include our beloved animals in their disaster planning.Support their efforts by donating time, money, and items to the Animal Disaster Planning Committee.They not only help during declared disasters but have chosen to step in when local animal-needs arise.They assisted when Camp Friendship had a barn fire and were on-the-scene when over 100 animals needed help in Columbia.Items needed are crates (wire preferred but any will do), leashes, collars, pooper scoopers, bowls, food, office supplies, combs and brushes.Donations may be taken to the Fork Union Community Center on Route 15 or to the Admin Office near the Court House in Palmyra.Call Jackie Myers at 591-1910 for further information on the Animal Disaster Planning Committee.