HAWAIIAN HUMANE SOCIETY
Jadie Fukumoto's puppy Lincoln is prepared for an emergency in his crate. Remember to bring toys for puppies to chew.
Prepare for the safety of pets during disaster
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, preparing pets for a disaster has been discussed in many states. This awareness is timely, as summer marks the beginning of our hurricane season.
Gov. Linda Lingle and the state Department of Civil Defense are revising the emergency shelter plan to eventually include 31 pet shelters statewide, but none are expected to be ready this year.
In the meantime, prepare your animal ohana to ride out an emergency in your home unless you live on a windy ridge; in a single-walled, older home of weak construction; or in a tsunami inundation zone.
The telephone book offers maps so you can assess your home's location and construction to determine whether you would be evacuated during a hurricane.
If your home is not safe for you, it is not safe for your pets. Animals left behind can be injured, lost or killed. Even those left inside can come to harm should your house suffer storm damage and/or if they escape. Plan now to keep your pets safe with you.
You could invoke the spirit of ohana and weather the storm at the safest, sturdiest home of friends or family. Provide a sheltered indoor area for all the animals or locate boarding facilities and hotels that will allow pets during an emergency.
Take time now to review your pet emergency kit. Dogs and cats should each have a sturdy carrier or crate big enough to stand and turn around in. Put aside leashes, food and water for two weeks, and cleanup supplies. Collapsible bowls for food and water are easy to transport. If you pack canned pet food, don't forget a can opener.
Pack similar supplies for small mammals and birds. If their regular cages are too big to fit into the car, get a plastic crate to serve as an emergency home. If the carrier does not have a perch for your bird, line it with paper towels that you can change frequently. Bring a spray bottle to moisten your bird's feathers.
Just as you would pack a first-aid kit for yourself, pack one for your pet. This should include scissors, gauze pads, bandage material, tweezers, a blanket and waterproof bandages. If your pet needs medication, accurately label it and put it in a plastic bag.
Other ways to be prepared:
» Make a list of places to check for your pet if you are separated, including your island's humane society and nearby veterinarians.
» Ensure that all pets have collars with updated ID tags listing your name, home phone number and cellular phone. For birds and rabbits, firmly attach a waterproof note to their cage with that information.
» If your pet has a microchip, check that the contact information is current and registered with the humane society on your island.
» Locate copies of vaccination records and license and microchip numbers. Place a photo of your pet with those items, in case he gets lost.
WHEN A hurricane warning is issued, bring outdoor pets inside so they are easy to find should you need to evacuate. Don't wait until the last moment to leave your home; you'll need time to get to your safe house or a shelter. Pack the car with the pet supplies you prepared earlier.
If an emergency shelter is your destination, park in a safe spot nearby and make your pets as comfortable as possible in the car. Leave windows slightly open for ventilation, but keep out the rain. Check on the animals whenever it is safe to go outside.
More information about protecting pets in the event of a hurricane is available at the Humane Society's Web site, www.hawaiianhumane.org. Go to Pet Care & Advice, Seasonal Tips.