With State of Emergency Declared As Hurricane Joaquin Approaches, PETA Rushes Out Hurricane-Preparedness PSA

Group Warns Against Leaving Animals Behind to Fend for Themselves

For Immediate Release:
October 2, 2015

Lauren Rutkowski 202-483-7382

Trenton, N.J.

As Hurricane Joaquin quickly approaches and a state of emergency is declared for New Jersey, PETA’s disaster-preparedness (PSA) seeks to remind people that evacuation plans must include animal companions. 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’ll 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-preparedness 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.

Ten years ago this season, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, killing nearly 2,000 people—and stranding tens of thousands of animals as their panicked families evacuated without them. While some animals were rescued from flooded areas, many more drowned—and the men and women who refused to leave without their beloved dogs and cats drowned with them. It’s important that we get this lifesaving information out now, in advance of Hurricane Joaquin.

More information is available on PETA.org.

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