A poll released Tuesday by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that 35 percent of dog and cat owners have no plan for dealing with their pets during a disaster that forces them to evacuate.
Forty-two percent of dog or cat owners polled in the survey said they would not evacuate without their pets, 39 percent said they would leave them behind and 19 percent said they didn’t know what they would do.
The finding underscores something emergency management officials learned during Hurricane Katrina six years ago in New Orleans: Some pet owners won’t evacuate in an emergency if it means leaving their animals behind, while others may be forced to abandon pets.
While Hurricane Irene has come and gone, September is disaster preparedness month, and with hurricane season running through November, the ASPCA is urging pet owners to identify a place in advance where they could bring their animals if they had to evacuate in an emergency. The organization also advocates microchipping pets as the best way to make sure owners can be tracked down if their animals get lost.
For more on this story, see the September 8 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online.