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Friday, October 27, 2017

How to Help Animals Affected by the California Wildfires

When a natural disaster strikes, our first focus is on the welfare of the people in the affected area, with good reason. However, our pet population can be just as threatened as the humans in the region, and it’s vital for both pet owners and animal lovers to prepare and respond to disasters as efficiently and effectively as possible.

We're sharing a few ideas on how to protect your pet before a disaster strikes.

credit: Timothy Kraus
The Washington Post reports that around 250,000 animals of all kinds were trapped in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. More recently, animal welfare organizations around the country put in countless hours attempting to rescue pet survivors of the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The responders applied lessons learned in previous disasters like Katrina to maximize their impact, setting up intake points and supply locations designed specifically for animals and sending teams into the affected areas to rescue as many animals as possible.

One crucial factor in pet safety during a disaster is the level of preparedness that pet owners undertake well before the disaster strikes. Adorning a pet with collars and identification tags, as well as microchipping the animal, makes it much more likely for a lost pet to be reunited with its owner. The Humane Society of the United States provides a number of other tips in making a disaster plan for your pet, from assembling an emergency kit to evacuating early with your pet prior to the disaster striking if possible. Taking simple steps now can help pet owners avoid the heartbreak of a lost pet later.

In addition to taking proactive steps to protect your pet before a disaster, you may consider supporting a highly-rated charity helping protect and reunite pets with their owners after a disaster.

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation ☆☆☆

Be part of the search

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) was founded in 1996. Our mission is to strengthen disaster response in America by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. We offer the professionally trained canines and an ongoing training program at no cost to fire departments. And we ensure lifetime care for every dog in our program: once rescued, these dogs never need to be rescued again. There are currently 73 SDF-trained Search Teams across the country, located in California, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, Utah and Baja California. Thanks to Mutual Aid Agreements between counties, cities and states, these precious, life-saving resources can be shared regionally and nationally.

American Humane

Committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals

American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals. For more than a hundred years American Humane has been first in promoting the welfare and safety of animals and strengthening the bond between animals and people. We are first to serve, wherever animals are in need of rescue, shelter, protection or security. Through our innovative leadership initiatives – from our “No Animals Were Harmed® program in Hollywood to broad-based farm and conservation animal welfare certifications, to rapid response rescue and care across the country – American Humane sets the gold standard as the most visionary and effective animal welfare organization in the nation.

The Humane Society of the United States

Celebrating animals, confronting cruelty

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is the nation's largest and most effective animal protection organization. Established in 1954, The HSUS seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals - a world that will also benefit people. We work to reduce suffering and to create meaningful social change for animals by advocating for sensible public policies, investigating cruelty and working to enforce existing laws, educating the public about animal issues, joining with corporations on behalf of animal-friendly policies, and conducting hands-on programs that make ours a more humane world. We are the lead disaster relief agency for animals, and we provide direct care for thousands of animals at our sanctuaries and rescue facilities, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and mobile veterinary clinics.

Following Hurricane Harvey, several charities local and regional charities reacted quickly to address the needs of local pets and livestock. As the recovery efforts for people and animals in this area continues, you may consider supporting one of the following highly-rated charities.

Houston SPCA

Promoting commitment to and respect for all animals and freeing them from suffering, abuse and exploitation

Founded in 1924, the Houston SPCA is Houston's first and largest animal protection organization and shelter. Our mission is to promote commitment to and respect for all animals and free them from suffering, abuse and exploitation, and our vision is that we will lead our community to appreciate the value of animals. Committed to all animals, the Houston SPCA provides quality, humane care to dogs and cats, rabbits and other small mammals, birds, horses, farm animals and more. We also facilitate the protection and rehabilitation of injured, ill, orphaned and oiled native wildlife through our affiliate, Wildlife Rehab & Education. We are also the only shelter in the Greater Gulf Coast area with the ability to provide humane, temporary shelter to big cats and other exotic animals. All programs offered by the Houston SPCA-excluding adoptions, pet-training classes and Critter Camp-are free of charge, a service to our community and its animals, and we place 100% of our adoptable animals.

Habitat for Horses

Rescue, sanctuary, education & therapy

The purpose of Habitat for Horses Inc. is a) To promote and secure the safety, well being and health of horses. b) To encourage education concerning the physical and mental health of horses. c) To utilize horses in the growth and mental health of humans, either adult or children, through education, demonstration and connection. d) To study, promote, and enhance the proper training of horses through positive training techniques. e) To provide a home for those horses who are no longer able to be productive. f) To return to health, if possible, those owned horses that are deemed sick or injured.

Best Friends Animal Society

Save them All

The mission of Best Friends is to end the killing in America's animal shelters and create a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. We do this by building community programs and partnerships all across the nation.

If you're interested in supporting an animal shelter or advocacy organization helping animals in other areas affected by recent storms and disasters, please take a moment to explore our Hot Topic pages.

Finally, consider fostering a pet that has been affected by a disaster. Following a crisis, many pets need good, temporary homes until they can be reunited with their families. Reach out to your local shelter to learn how you can help!

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