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Lessons Learned From Katrina Help Keep Animals Out of Danger’s Path

Written by PETA | September 2, 2008

The extent of Gustav’s effect on the Gulf Coast and its animals is still being assessed, but it’s clear that in the days preceding the hurricane, officials and citizens took seriously the critical importance of evacuating animals with their guardians. This first-ever joint effort on the part of government officials, animal protection groups, and citizens appears to have worked to a great degree so far!

Up ’til now, animal-related calls to PETA’s office have been minimal and swiftly addressed. But now Hanna, Ike, and Josephine are following Gustav. With a dangerous hurricane season in full force, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and have a plan ready to ensure the safety of your companion animals in case of an evacuation or other emergency. Our disaster preparedness checklist provides all the information you need to create a safe, effective plan to protect your companion animals.

Please make your plan before it’s too late!

Written by Carrie Ann Harris

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  • Michelle says:

    What a horrible experience. I was watching CNN during the evacuations they were doing from the makeshift “airport” in New Orleans and they said people were specifically told NOT to bring pets. They had a cage of birds a woman had brought and was told to leave there sitting on the tarmac. I could not help but think how much has NOT changed since Katrina. There is still much work to be done obviously. All the best to you Laurie.

  • Carla says:

    Laurie Hutchinson I can not believe the horror felt leaving your home and belongings behind but doing the right thing in taking your pets with you only to be turned down by the very people that are supposed to help you regardless of status. Since I’m from Canada I never had to experience what the good folks down south have experienced. I prayed that after Hurricane Katrina this would never happen again. I feel the need to complain to The Courtyard Montgomery on behalf of you and many others! Hang in there Laurie! You have a courageous Big heart! I hope you found a safe place for you and your pets to sleep and keep dry peace will come over you! God bless you and my prayers are with you all!!

  • SASHA says:



    i recently had to scrounge to add last minute reservations for sunday nite 83108 since Gustav approached faster than expected. we already had accomadations for monday thru saturday at a “pet friendly” hotelwe had 12 people in our party and 3 dogs and 2 cats. i called and got reservations at the coutyard montgomery alabamabut they told me they were not “pet friendly” and i explained to them this was an emergency evacuation situation and it would only be for one nite . they said “of course for evacuations we will accept pets”. i thanked them forever and they emailed me my confirmation. we left metairie at 3 in the morning and were stuck in gridlock contaflow traffic for 20 hours before we made it to montgomery al. my neice had made it to the hotel about 5 hrs before me and checked in she left her dog in the car and called me in a panic because there were signs posted everywhere that no pets were allowed. i immediately almost threw up as i was traveling with my 85 yr old parents three teenagers and we already had to do unspeakable things in the grass along the highway as did the dogs because no bathrooms were openso i called the front desk. i told them i was assured the pets would be accepted on evacuation and after much deliberation they again assured me we would not be turned down when we arrived even if we didnt get there till midnite. WRONG!!!!!!! when we finally got there after 20 gruelling hrs of helli was releived to see so many guests outside walking their pets. when we chekcd in our 2 mini dauchsands stayed in the car exhausted and traumatizedwe were told to go around to the side entrance “that was the closet entrance to our room and go thru the side door. after it took us 2030 minutes to unload everything when we got to the door i notice the front desk manager who checked us in waiting for us with another man. she opened the door and told us we could not come in with the dogs. i told her to get the desk clerk on the phone who guarenteed me we could be let in but of course there was no answer. my husband said there were plenty of other guests outside and inside with pets why were we not able to come in? she said it was a no pet hotel and since then the guests who were allergic to dogs have lodged a complant therefore no more dogs and we could either board our dogs at the humane society for free or leave. we did not want to put our pets thru any more trauma then they have been thru the 2022 hr car ride and they already had been throwing up and diareaha cant spell sorryand we did not want to have to drive any furthur in a unfamiliar city to find the humane society. besides pets should remain with their owners during evacuation if at all possible it is too much stress on thier bodies and mental statusafter katrina when they had to be boarded one of my dogs now suffers from separation anxiety and has never been the same. my 85 yr parents could barley move none of us had eaten or slept for the past 24 hrs and by this time we would have only been in the stupid room for only a couple of hours. we felt very discrimminated against as well as our pets . we begged them to let us stay for 67 hrs. they ended up calling the police on us to evict us because we refused to leave. the only saving grace is when the police came and saw all the other guests walking their dogs they said legally “they” the police could not evict us. unfortunately the hotel still made us leave with our dogs but we left my mom and dad and children there. is there not a law that hotels have to take pets on evacuation? no human or animal should have to go through what we went through or be treated like we were on any given day much less during a stressful situation like a 20 hr evacuation. i hope you can do something for other pet owners who have to evacuate with pets and have no place to goespecially when promised and at the last minute the rules are changed thanks so much for listening. laurie hutchinson metairie la