The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Tuesday urged pet owners to include their pet cats and dogs in planning for disasters.
PETA issued the appeal following recent natural disasters such as the Taal Volcano’s eruption and strong typhoons where pets and domestic animals are left behind to fend for themselves by their owners as they flee to safety.
According to PETA, as natural disasters can happen when they are least expected, it is better for their owners to included them in their emergency evacuation plans.
Animals feel fear and panic during volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, and other natural disasters, and they’re equally at risk of injury and death and that planning ahead for emergency situations can mean the difference between life and death for everyone, including beloved animal companions, PETA said in a news statement.
PETA animal rescuers were among the first to conduct its unique search and rescue missions in areas hit by disasters, such as the recent Taal volcanic eruption in Batangas where volunteers continue to aid distressed animals abandoned by their owners.
To avoid tragic deaths of domestic animals, PETA issued tips on how to properly care for pets, whether they are cats, dogs, or farm animals, that owners keep at home.
Have an animal-emergency kit on hand. It should include a muzzle, a harness and leash, a carrier, bottled water, dry food, and water bowls. If you have a cat, have some litter and a small litter tray ready to go. The kit will be helpful if you must grab your animals quickly or if you encounter an animal in need of help. You might also include blankets to cover carriers in order to help keep animals calm during transport.
Make sure your animal companions have collars with current ID tags. Ensure that you have a recent photo of your animals for identification purposes.
Hotels often lift their “no pets” policies during emergencies but you should keep a list of hotels that always accept companion animals just in case. Take a muzzle with you, as some hotels or evacuation centers only allow dogs if they’re muzzled.
Include your local animal shelter’s phone number on your list of emergency contacts—the shelter may be able to provide information during a disaster.
According to the group, often during natural disasters, people could have taken their animals with them but didn’t because they thought that they’d be gone only for a few hours.
“Hours can turn into days or even weeks, and
many animals suffer and die as a result. Good intentions aren’t good
enough—always take your animals with you,” the group said.
In case authorities force pet owners to leave animal companions behind, PETA recommends some measures like:
Never tie up animals outside, leave them caged, or keep them in a vehicle unattended. Leave them in a secure area inside your home.
Leave out enough water to last at least 10 days. Fill every sink, bowl, pan and a plastic container with water and make them accessible to your animals. Never leave just one container of water—it may spill. If your toilet bowl is free of chemicals, leave the toilet seat up to provide animals with one more source of water, but it shouldn’t be their only source.
Leave out enough dry food to last at least 10 days. Opened canned food will quickly go bad.
If you can’t get back to your home, contact a reliable neighbor or friend to check on your animals and get them out, if possible. Provide them with specific instructions for their care.
“It’s imperative that everyone prepare in advance for emergencies and include companion animals in their plans,” PETA Senior Vice President of International Campaigns Jason Baker said.
“Animals should never be left behind to fend for themselves—they aren’t any better equipped to survive disasters than humans are,” he said