With wildfires predicted to be a grave threat this year—and in the wake of last year’s record-setting hurricane season and the horror stories about people who were separated from their animal companions—veteran TV and film star Ali MacGraw, whose many credits include Love Story and The Getaway, rushed to record a special TV public service announcement (PSA) for PETA.
MacGraw makes a heartfelt plea for residents to include their animal family members in their evacuation plans for all natural disasters in order to avoid the mass suffering and deaths of cats, dogs, birds, and other animals that occurred when Gulf Coast residents were forced to leave their animals behind as they fled the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
MacGraw’s words are critical for what is predicted to be a particularly destructive 2006 wildfire season. As authorities around the country call for evacuations of affected areas, PETA offers the following important advice for ensuring the safety of animal companions:
- In the event that your area is evacuated, never leave companion animals behind to fend for themselves. They aren’t any better equipped to survive disasters than humans are.
- Know your destination ahead of time. Shelters often do not accept animals, but motels in the area will probably accept cats, dogs, and other small animals in an emergency; call in advance to be sure.
- Place small animals in secure carriers. Dogs should be leashed with harnesses, because frightening circumstances may make them bolt. Take water and food bowls, a towel, and enough food for a week.
- Put I.D. tags on your animals in case they become separated from you.
- Never turn animals loose to fend for themselves outside, tie them up, or leave them in cages, where they will be unable to flee dangerous circumstances.