Include the Family Pet in Emergency Planning

What do we do with our pets in an emergency? Do we leave them behind when we have to go to a shelter? To anyone who does not own a pet, that may sound like an unimportant query. Really, though, are there families in Cordova without pets???? Not many. This town loves its animals…and where we go, our dogs go. Isn’t that the truth? So, a Cordova emergency response plan without an associated pet plan would be remiss. To that end, the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) that is currently being revised is also considering that aspect of disaster response. Our pets.

As responsible pet owners, we can do much to protect and prepare those furry friends. Our pets depend entirely upon us to care for them and they are often overlooked in disaster preparedness. A few simple steps, taken by the loving pet owner, can potentially save their lives.

  • Pre-designate a neighbor (at least one neighbor) to take care of your pet in case you are unable to get to your home. Choose someone who actually likes your pet, is familiar with your pet, is responsible, and knows where your house key and pet supplies are.
  • Get a kennel for your pet.
  • Pre-position extra food, an extra leash or harness, and other pet supplies in your kennel at all times. Then, if a disaster happens, you can grab the kennel ( and yes, the pet too) and run …or your neighbor can grab the kennel and have everything he needs to care for your pet in one place.
  • Understand that if you have to seek shelter for any reason, your pet will not be allowed to come into any of the shelters.
  • Clearly label your kennel so that you are sure to get it back after the disaster. Put the name of your pet, your address, and your name on the kennel…just in case you and your pet are separated in the chaos.
  • Take a photo of your pet with you; again, in case you are separated from your pet.

It has not yet been determined where our displaced pets will be housed in a major disaster. Ideally, we would like to have a large, warm area as the “Pet Safe House.” If you have any ideas, or any extra kennels …let us know. Please feel free to call Joanie at 424-5773 with your ideas.

For our pet’s sake, let’s be prudent. Be ready. Be prepared.