Natural disasters can happen when they are least expected, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights organization in the world.
Like humans, animals feel fear and panic during volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, and other natural disasters, and they’re equally at risk of injury and death, the group said.
Planning ahead for emergency situations can mean the difference between life and death for everyone, including beloved animal companions, PETA said.
“It’s imperative that everyone prepare in advance for emergencies and include companion animals in their plans,” said PETA Senior Vice President of International Campaigns Jason Baker.
“Animals should never be left behind to fend for themselves—they aren’t any better equipped to survive disasters than humans are,” PETA said.
PETA is continuing to make daily trips to lakeside communities surrounding Taal Volcano to feed and care for abandoned animals.
PETA advised the following on what to do in case of disasters.
“Have an animal-emergency kit on hand. It should include a muzzle, a harness and leash, a carrier, bottled water, dry food, and water bowls. If you have a cat, have some litter and a small litter tray ready to go. The kit will be helpful if you must grab your animals quickly or if you encounter an animal in need of help. You might also include blankets to cover carriers in order to help keep animals calm during transport.”
“Make sure your animal companions have collars with current ID tags. Ensure that you have a recent photo of your animals for identification purposes.”
“Hotels often lift their ‘no pets’ policies during emergencies, but you should keep a list of hotels that always accept companion animals just in case. Take a muzzle with you, as some hotels or evacuation centers only allow dogs if they’re muzzled.”
“Include your local animal shelter’s phone number on your list of emergency contacts—the shelter may be able to provide information during a disaster.”
Far too often during natural disasters, people could’ve taken their animals with them but did not because they thought that they would be gone only for a few hours. Hours can turn into days or even weeks, and many animals suffer and die as a result.
“Good intentions aren’t good enough—always take your animals with you,” PETA said.
If authorities force them to leave their animal companions behind, the following tips should be observed:
“Never tie up animals outside, leave them caged, or keep them in a vehicle unattended. Leave them in a secure area inside your home.”
“Leave out enough water to last at least 10 days. Fill every sink, bowl, pan, and plastic container with water and make them accessible to your animals. Never leave just one container of water—it may spill. If your toilet bowl is free of chemicals, leave the toilet seat up to provide animals with one more source of water, but it shouldn’t be their only source.”
“Leave out enough dry food to last at least 10 days. Opened canned food will quickly go bad. If you can’t get back to your home, contact a reliable neighbor or friend to check on your animals and get them out, if possible. Provide them with specific instructions for their care.”/Stacy Ang