NEW YORK--New York City animal welfare agencies, at the request of the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), are mobilizing resources within the OEM's Animal Planning Task Force to aid in the emergency rescue and sheltering of animals in anticipation of Hurricane Irene.
The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), NYC Animal Care & Control (AC&C), the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, Bideawee, and NYC Veterinary Emergency Response Team (NYCVERT) are urging pet owners to develop an emergency plan in advance to keep their families and pets safe. 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.
"Disasters threaten the safety of people and animals alike, and it's often too late to create a plan for your pets when you're in the middle of a crisis," says Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team. "Why risk not being prepared for an emergency when all it takes is following some very simple steps?"
The Animal Planning Task Force offers the following tips on emergency 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.
For families who must evacuate, the City's evacuation centers, as well as its emergency shelters, will be pet friendly, and people are encouraged to evacuate with their pets. 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, and other 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, Animal Care and Control of NYC, NYC Veterinary Emergency Response Team, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, American Red Cross in Greater New York, Bideawee, Humane Society of the United States, Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Veterinary Medical Assistance Team One (VMAT-1).
For more information on disaster preparedness and safety tips from the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/. For updates on the impact of Hurricane Irene on the animals in New York City, please visit www.aspca.org.