As Hurricane Danny Threatens, Memories of Animals Lost and Rescued in Katrina Return: PETA Offers Hurricane-Preparedness PSA

For Immediate Release:
August 21, 2015

Contact:
Lauren Rutkowski 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – We all remember the human death toll, and many of us remember the biggest animal-rescue operation in U.S. history, as 10 years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, stranding tens of thousands of animals as their panicked families were forced, sometimes at gunpoint, to evacuate without them. While many dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and other family “pets” drowned—and some men and women who refused to leave without their beloved dogs and cats drowned with them—thousands of animals ended up in crates in makeshift tent cities, some to be reunited with frantic families, many so traumatized that they withdrew into themselves or shook with fear at any sound. Animals were flown and driven to other states, and PETA was part of the rescue operations for small dogs.

The video, which you can view here, is shot from the point of view of a dog who’s stranded in floodwaters in the aftermath of a hurricane. As a helicopter lifts off, the dog barks frantically and slowly slips beneath the surface. The PSA asks viewers to “Have a plan. Save your pet.”

We also hope you will alert your audience to the following information, which could help save the lives of cats, dogs, birds, and other animal companions who need to be included in disaster-preparation plans:

  • Get your animals microchipped, and put secure, legible ID tags on them.
  • During a flood, never leave your animals outdoors, tied up, or confined in any way, as they will likely become trapped and be unable to flee rising waters. (Please click on the hyperlinks to see photos of dogs who were left outside during past storms.)
  • In the event of an evacuation, never leave your animals behind to fend for themselves.
  • Know your emergency destination ahead of time. Although human shelters often refuse animals, motels in the area will probably accept dogs, cats, and other small animals in an emergency. Do not plan to leave animals unsupervised in a car—they can suffer from heatstroke once ambient temperatures rise above 70 degrees, even if they’re given water and the windows are slightly open. Animals can also be stolen out of parked vehicles.
  • Place small animals in secure carriers, and keep dogs on a leash. Frightening sounds and unfamiliar surroundings may make them bolt. Take water and food bowls, your animals’ favorite toy or blanket, a towel, and enough food to last them at least a week.
  • Watch for other animals in need, including strays and those who’ve been left behind by neighbors. If you see an animal in distress and are unable to help, note the animal’s condition and location and call authorities for help as soon as possible.

More information is available on PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind