|By PR Newswire||
|September 5, 2008 04:19 PM EDT||
This startling statistic showcased the importance of pet evacuation planning efforts such as those deployed before Hurricane Gustav. It also reaffirms the strength of the human-animal bond and the importance the public sees in the rescue of animals during times of crisis.
The study found that nearly three out of four people surveyed (72 percent) agreed that there should be formal evacuation plans for pets. Not surprisingly, the support for formal disaster plans for pets and companion animals was strongest in the South (74 percent) and West (76 percent), areas most closely associated with hurricanes and wildfires.
"During Hurricane Katrina, American Humane and others rescued nearly
10,000 animals," said
The study surveyed 1,000 adults to gauge their attitudes and level of preparedness surrounding disasters. Areas of research included determining the public interest in formal evacuation plans for pets, policy surrounding ownership of pets lost in a disaster and the steps people have taken to prepare their pets for a disaster.
Other key findings include:
Kids change everything
-- People with children were 62 percent more likely to leave their pet and evacuate than those without children.
-- 60 percent of people with children would evacuate if they had to leave their pet behind, compared to just 37 percent of people without children.
Humans come first
-- Most respondents agreed that rescuing pets was a secondary objective, after rescuing people.
o 45 percent said animals should be rescued only after all humans have been brought to safety.
o 34 percent said animals could be rescued along with humans "if time and space permits."
o 16 percent said animals and humans should be considered equals and pets should be "rescued at all costs."
Loyalty of dogs is rewarded
-- 55 percent of dog owners would refuse evacuation efforts, compared to 43 percent of cat owners.
-- Dog owners were 41 percent more likely than cat owners to say that pets should be rescued at all costs when rescuers encounter them.
"These findings really demonstrate the incredible power of the human-animal bond and make it clear that people believe animals should be considered in rescue efforts," said Wheatley. "Now, we need to continue using this information to construct safe, fair and feasible plans for rescue situations."
What should be in your pet evacuation plan?
Pet owners need to be prepared in case rescuers can't get to their pets. There are a few quick and easy steps to take to help you and your pet quickly, and safely, evacuate from a disaster zone.
1. Have a plan - make sure your family knows who is in charge of getting the pets from the house or doggie day care in the event of an emergency. Know where you will try and get to and where you will meet if cell phone coverage is poor.
2. Keep your pets' vaccinations up-to-date -- discuss with your vet your pet's vaccination schedule. If your pet is on any over-the-counter medications or treatment, see about having extra on hand during natural disaster season.
3. Know where your pets can go -- there may be a situation where you can't take your pet with you. Know of animal shelters and boarding facilities in your area that are prepared to house animals during a disaster and have the ability to evacuate the pets if needed. Also, keep a list of pet-friendly hotels in your surrounding area. You may need it if evacuating with your pet.
4. Update your pet's IDs -- after a disaster, local residents can be displaced across the country and hard to find. In addition to your name, phone, etc., include the contact of an out-of-state friend or family member. This will ensure that if you're displaced and unreachable somebody you trust and who is out of harm's way can claim your pet.
5. Prepare an emergency kit of leashes, collars, extra ID tags, water, food, medications, health records, a first aid kit and vet contact information with authorization to treat your pets. Also include photos to prove ownership, and pack everything up in a bag or bin or put it in your pet's portable carrier. It'll be ready to go when you need it.
6. Gather any relief plans developed by your local Red Cross chapter; emergency management office; or police, fire, health, wildlife and agriculture departments so you know where to turn for specific resources.
American Humane conducted the telephone survey among a national
probability sample of 1,005 adults comprising 503 men and 502 women 18 years
of age and older, living in private households in the continental
About American Humane
Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the only national
organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a
network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, American
Humane develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to
protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The
nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in
Contact: Mandy Melby (720) 946-6326 (o) (720) 771-0475 (m) [email protected]
SOURCE American Humane Association
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