Pet Disasters. New legislation and awareness campaigns aid in care for evacuated pets Thousands of pet owners are forced to leave their pets behind each year due to unexpected natural and man-made disasters. Because of this, new legislation has been proposed and enacted, which require that pets be accounted for during evacuations. The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Act (PETS Act) requires state and local emergency agencies to have plans in place to meet the needs of pets during disasters.
In the event of a disaster, families must evacuate quickly and may not be able to bring their pets along. These pets are often left to fend for themselves and most of them are never reunited with their owners. In order to curb the effects of these horrific events, the veterinary industry and several non-profit organizations are working together to care for pets and help reunite them with their families.
Paws to Save Pets, a national campaign that provides animals with disaster relief, will donate up to $1 million to the PetFinder.com Foundation, an Internet-based resource that helps shelters, other animal rescue groups and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF). Paws to Save Pets, is sponsored and supported by veterinary pharmaceutical leaders in the US.
Last year’s major disaster, Hurricane Katrina, left thousands of pets homeless. More than $2 million was donated to AMVF to provide medical care and help reunite the abandoned animals with their owners. AVMF warns that natural disasters like hurricanes aren’t the only events that can affect pets. Man-made disasters such as chemical spills, gas leaks and building fires can also devastate a family and their pets.
Pet owners can take precautions against permanent separation from their pets by keeping current identification and having their pet micro-chipped. They should also obtain a copy of their pet’s medical records and talk to their veterinarian about other steps they can take to ensure their pet’s safety in case of an emergency.