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NYC Animal Planning Task Force Urges Pet Owners to Plan Ahead in Preparation for Hurricane Sandy

Agencies provide disaster preparedness tips, remind public that shelters are pet friendly
October 27, 2012

NEW YORK—At the request of the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), animal welfare agencies in the OEM's Animal Planning Task Force urge pet owners to develop an emergency evacuation plan to keep their families and pets safe before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in New York City.

The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C), the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and NYC Veterinary Emergency Response Team (NYC VERT) are reminding pet owners that all evacuation shelters are pet friendly. Several evacuation shelters opened their doors this afternoon, and pet owners should check the OEM's Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder to locate the nearest evacuation zone, and the system will direct pet owners to the proper facility. The public can also obtain this information by calling 311.

"The best thing you can do for you and your pet is to plan ahead before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall," said Dr. Dick Green, director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA. "Don't wait until the last minute to see if the storm will affect your neighborhood. Act now, find your nearest evacuation shelter, and tune in to your local news to monitor the storm's condition. And remember, all of the City's evacuation shelters for humans are pet friendly, so please take your pets with you if you need to evacuate."

The Animal Planning Task Force offers the following tips on disaster preparedness:

  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and ID tags with up-to-date identification. Micro-chip your pet as a more permanent form of identification.
  • Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet first aid supplies. Take this with you if you evacuate.
  • Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave your pets behind.
  • Choose a designated caregiver who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable.

Low-lying areas of the city that are most at risk for flooding and other damage and are designated as "Zone A" low-lying areas in the Coastal Storm Plan include: Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Far Rockaway and Broad Channel in Queens; South Beach; Midland Beach; low-lying areas on Staten Island; and Battery Park City in Manhattan. For details and updates, please visit the OEM's website at www.NYC.gov/oem, or call 311 to find an evacuation center.

New York City's Office of Emergency Management created the Animal Planning Task Force to develop plans for disasters -- both natural and otherwise. The task force includes representatives from the ASPCA, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, AC&C, HSUS, NYC VERT, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, American Red Cross in Greater New York, Bideawee, Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Veterinary Medical Assistance Team One.

These agencies have also committed resources that include animal sheltering, veterinary support, search and rescue, supplies, staff, volunteers, and transport to provide aid in the days ahead.

For more information on disaster preparedness and safety tips from the ASPCA, please visit Disaster Preparedness. For updates on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the animals in New York City, please visit the ASPCA Blog.

Media Contacts:
ASPCA: Emily Schneider, 646-784-5111, emily.schneider@aspca.org
ASPCA: Anita K. Edson, 646-522-5056, anita.edson@aspca.org
AC&C: Richard P. Gentles, 917-807-7829, rgentles@nycacc.org
Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals: Steve Gruber, 917-359-6003, Steve@animalalliancenyc.org
HSUS: Brian Shapiro, 845-707-5350, Bshapiro@humanesociety.org
NYC VERT: Dr. Barbara Kalvig, 212-644-1022, bk37nick@yahoo.com

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation's leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About Animal Care & Control
Animal Care & Control of New York City (AC&C) is the largest pet organization in the North East, with nearly 40,000 animals rescued each year. As a non-profit organization since 1995, AC&C has been responsible for New York City's municipal shelter system; rescuing, caring for and finding loving homes for homeless and abandoned animals in New York City. AC&C facilities operate in all five boroughs to service all NYC communities.

About the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals®
The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, Inc., founded in 2002 and powered by Maddie's Fund®, The Pet Rescue Foundation, with support from the ASPCA, is a coalition of more than 150 animal rescue groups and shelters working with Animal Care & Control of New York City (AC&C) to end the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs at AC&C shelters. To achieve that goal, the Alliance, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, helps its Alliance Participating Organizations (APOs) work to their highest potential to increase pet adoptions and spay/neuter rates, with the goal of transforming New York City into a no-kill community by 2015. www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org.

About The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization. For more than a half-century The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. We are supported by more than 11 million Americans. The HSUS - Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty. On the Web at humanesociety.org.

About New York City Veterinary Emergency Response Team
New York City Veterinary Emergency Response Team is a volunteer group of veterinarians, brought together by their work following 9/11, who are dedicated to supporting New York City's working and companion animals in times of disaster.