Scenes from Superstorm Hurricane Sandy fill the news including the images of animals in the storm’s wake. Whether displaced from homes or shelters, trapped in homes, or lost and separated from their families, thousands of animals are in need of help.
Look for donation opportunities. After a disaster, many shelters are in need of assistance. If you have a favorite shelter, contact them to learn current needs, whether financial, supplies, or volunteer services. Larger organizations such as ASPCA are also raising money; text PREVENT to 25383 to donate $10 to help ASPCA rescue animals in distress and provide crates and food to evacuation centers. Similarly the Humane Society of the United States Disaster Relief Fund is taking contributions; text LOVE to 20222 to donate $10 to assist the Animal Rescue Team deployed to New York and New Jersey.
Join the Blogger Disaster Response Network. A program by BlogPaws, World Vets and Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, this project works to harness the power of social media to assist in times of natural disaster. Members can participate through blog posts, Facebook status posts, tweets, video, and other forms of social media.
Reach out to your own shelter for disaster preparedness. Although your region may not be impacted by the current weather situation, we all know that, sooner or later, a natural disaster in some form is likely. Now is a good time to check with your local shelter about how you can help in the event of a natural disaster in your area. Can you obtain volunteer training to transport pets in case of emergency? Can you register on a list of volunteers available to help? Can you help set up a social media program that would be ready to help residents find lost pets in case of a disaster?
Make your own disaster plan. Charity starts at home, and one way to help shelters in times of disaster is to make sure your own pets don’t become lost and in shelter care. Make an evacuation plan for you and your animals. The plan should include different disaster scenarios such as whether you are able to get home to care for your pets yourself or if not, provide for contacting a neighbor or relative who can help. Microchip your animals and have those records as well as veterinary available to you online or at a relative’s home outside your immediate area. Know where you AND your pets will go in times of emergency. You’ll find a free downloadable booklet on making disaster plans for pet households on Ready.gov.
During times of disaster, the existing safety net for homeless pets is often stretched to the breaking point. By helping out in emergency situations, all pet lovers can allow rescue organizations to continue their mission of saving homeless animals and reuniting lost pets with their families.