For the second day in a row, I feel compelled to re-paw a verbatim press release about New Orleans pets and the efforts of the Louisiana SPCA to rescue and shelter those in need.
This isn't just another day in busy life of animal rescue: Today is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Today was supposed to be a day of quiet remembrance and a dedication ceremony for the Katrina Pet Memorial. Instead, it's a day when nervous eyes in the U.S. Gulf are watching the approach of Hurricane Gustav.
Gustav seems headed to New Orleans. AP News reports the chance of New Orleans getting winds of 39 mph (63 kph) or more within next five days as 50 to 60 percent. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency to lay the groundwork for federal assistance. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said he would order a mandatory city evacuation within 72 hours if/when forecasters predict a Category-3 strike — or possibly even Category-2.
PAWLEEZE READ THE INFO POSTED BY LA SPCA:
Pet Owners Should Be Prepared to Activate Their Personal Pet Evacuation Plans
NEW ORLEANS, LA (8/28/08) – The Louisiana SPCA continues with the shelter evacuation of all its animals today through Friday. The transport will take place in advance of any mandatory evacuations so that shelter personnel will be able to return to the city and be able to assist as needed. The shelter remains closed to the public until further notice [after storm].
Although the exact path of Gustav is still unknown, LA/SPCA is urging pet owners to be prepared to activate their personal evacuation plans and evacuate with their pets should a mandatory evacuation be called. "This is not a time to panic," said LA/SPCA’s Ana Zorrilla, "but a time for pet owners to do a final review of their personal evacuation plans, and be ready to evacuate if needed."
Zorrilla said that should an evacuation be called, state officials will release information on multiple pet shelters that will be established throughout the state. The pet shelters will be adjacent to human shelters and the pet owners will be required to be with and care for their pets. The list will also be made available at Red Cross Welcome Centers along all contra flow evacuation routes. When pet shelter information is released by state officials, the locations will also be made available on our website.
Zorrilla said the state will not be setting up any pet shelters in Orleans Parish. "If there are people who do not have any means of transportation or have special needs, people should bring their pets to pick-up points designated by the city, but we stress very strongly that this should be a last resort," said Zorrilla. "We don’t want the public to rely on this as their best plan of action, but rather as their very last option."
Residents can search for pet-friendly hotels by going to PetsWelcome.com or TripswithPets.com. Zorrilla suggests that residents consider boarding facilities outside of the disaster area. "Although some may be full due to this being a Labor Day Weekend, we encourage pet owners to also look at boarding facilities that are not in disaster zones as another option."
Boarding facilities and hotels will require proof of vaccinations, which should be included in every person’s pet evacuation kit. The complete pet evacuation checklist, below, is also available in a detailed brochure. The brochure is available in three languages – English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
LA/SPCA PET EVACUATION CHECKLIST:
Place the following items in a waterproof container so you’re ready to go if you need to evacuate.
Dogs and Cats
- Your veterinarian’s contact name and phone number
- Copies of pet vaccination records
- Extra collar
- Food and water bowls
- Bottled water
- Paper towels
- Plastic baggies for picking up pet waste
- Muzzle, if necessary
- First aid kit
- Current photo of your pet
- 5-day supply of pet food and can with opener if you need one
- Kitty litter
- Small travel kitty litter box
- Several pillowcases for transporting
- Water bowl
- Heating pad
- Bedding material
- Food bowl and water bottle
- Water mister
Photo credit: LA SPCA