Would you know what to do with your pet in a disaster? In an emergency, the most important thing you can do for your pets is to evacuate with them.
But here’s the rub — American Red Cross shelters don’t accept pets. And there are very good reasons for this:
- And general fear of animals
Since we need to accommodate everyone, pets (with the exception of service animals) just aren’t part of the equation.
But times are changing. Right now, animal service agencies from Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Clark Counties are working together to create PET shelters co-located with Red Cross people shelters. There’s even a Portland Region Animal Shelter Plan in the works.
To test out just how a co-located pet shelter would work, there was a “Paws & Claws” drill earlier this week. The scenario: A damaging earthquake forced the evacuation of 1,500 Portland residents and businesses. Clackamas County agreed to open a Red Cross shelter at the County Fairgrounds in Canby. The County and the Red Cross asked the Portland Region Animal Multi-Agency Coordination Group (MAC-G) to activate a temporary animal shelter at the Fairgrounds to accommodate anticipated companion and service animals accompanying evacuees.
I’m pleased to say that all went ADORABLY well. I even took photos for you (note that we didn’t have real cats, but did have stuffed animals):
Keep in mind that while this particular “disaster” had a shelter for pets, that might not always be the case. Make sure you know where boarding facilities and hotels that accept pets are located. And always have a pet disaster kit. If you need more tips on pet preparedness, check here.