It’s important to have a disaster plan ready for your pet, including a well-stocked pet emergency kit with food, water and other essentials.
Remember, public shelters cannot accept pets because of space and for health and safety reasons. Leaving dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence.
Government shelters do not accept pets, so you must plan ahead to ensure that your family and pets will have a safe place to stay. Currently the Department of Agriculture and the Cayman Islands Humane Society do not have space to shelter pets and these facilities are already stretched to their limits.
Don’t wait until you are facing the imminent threat of disaster to make your arrangements.
Before a disaster hits, identify locations where you could take your pet during an evacuation. Look for pet-friendly hotels and accommodations; ask relatives and friends if they could house you and your pets; or if your workplace will allow you to shelter with your pets.
Be aware of your pet’s favourite hiding places so you’ll know where to look when you’re in a hurry to leave.
The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you. If it’s not safe for you to stay in the disaster area, then it’s not safe for your animals. Pets that are left behind in a disaster can be injured, lost or killed. If they are left inside your home, they may escape through storm-damaged areas, such as broken windows. Also, animals turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of accidents, starvation, contaminated food or water. Leaving dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence.
Keep your pet kid readily accessible in an emergency. Be sure your pet always wears its identification – a microchip and collar ID tag with up-to-date information may help reunite you with your pet if you become separated in the aftermath of a disaster.
AFTER THE STORM
It may be a relief to get outdoors once the all-clear is given, but make sure you keep dogs and cats on a leash: downed power lines, contaminated water and decaying matter all pose potential dangers, particularly to dogs. Familiar landmarks, such as fences marking boundaries, may be gone which is disorienting for dogs.
PET EMERGENCY KIT:
- Proper ID collar – include your cell phone number.
- First aid supplies include any medications your pet is taking.
- Up-to-date copy of vaccination and medical records, as well as contact information for your veterinarian.
- Ample food and water supply – at least three days.
- Leash or safety harness.
- Carrier or cage that is large enough for your pet to turn around in.
- Newspapers, cat litter, scoop, plastic trash bags for handling waste.
- Include a few toys and a favourite blanket to keep your pet comfortable.