With Hurricane Florence rearing her ugly head on the East Coast and a tropical depression expected in Southern Texas and Louisiana to follow, we are hoping for the best for all walks of life, but we are especially worried about the pets. Crowded shelters in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina have been featured in the news pleading to their local communities for help in fostering or adopting these animals ASAP. The heartbreaking truth is that many of these animals face the fate of euthanasia due to the impending risk of the shelter they are held at facing flooding, and the overcrowding the shelters will experience during recovery. Often when people are evacuated from their homes they surrender their animals to shelters. When those shelters become full and more animals are displaced during the storm these animals run the risk of being euthanized due to overcrowding and lack of help and resources. Many nonprofit rescue groups have stepped in and transported existing shelter animals to safer areas up North where rescues have room for them. There are still many more homeless pets in these danger zones that need help.
Natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, or landslides are happening every season. Dick Green, head of the ASPCA’s disaster response unit, said in a statement from a recent article by the Washington Post (link to the full article below), “We can’t stress enough how important it is to incorporate pets into evacuation plans to keep families together and pets safe.” As one of our staff dogs, Kingston, looks up at me with his “Feed me eyes,” I can’t help but wonder, WHAT IS MY PLAN? Luckily, being on the PAWS staff, I know that PAWS of Jackson Hole is ready for local families who are faced with the same question. Our Disaster Animal Response Team works with Teton County Emergency Management in times of disaster when local pets need help. When they say go, we go.
Driving by KMART this summer, you’ve seen our disaster trailer. Inside that trailer is equipment to set up an emergency shelter for up to 150 local pets. Our team is trained by an American Humane instructor yearly. Jackson has been rather lucky when it comes to natural disasters, although they seem to happen all around us. What can you do to be part of the recovery process if the Greater Jackson area is hit with a natural disaster? Become a Disaster Animal Response Team member. Be a part of the safety plan for local pets in times of disaster. PAWS is currently recruiting new D.A.R.T. team members and we are planning on hosting a Disaster Sheltering for Companion Animals weekend course in late October in Driggs, Idaho. If you are interested in learning more about the course and joining our team please contact Jess: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope all the people and pets in Hurricane Florence’s path are able to evacuate to a safer area. If you would like to read some of the latest articles about the efforts being made for pets in the communities that are expecting Hurricane Florence please follow the links below: