urricane Katrina taught the world some very harsh lessons. The majority of people who refused to evacuate New Orleans said they would not leave without their pets. No one knows how many of Katrina's 1,300 victims died for this reason, but there's no question that many survivors endured terrible mental anguish, anger and guilt after leaving their pets behind.
Tens of thousands of pets died following Hurricane Katrina alone. About 18,000 animals were rescued alive after the storm, but only about two dozen ferrets were found alive. Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of animals have died in disasters such as floods, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes and more.
It's critical to have a plan for your animals before disaster strikes. The most important rule is: Never leave them behind! It's not uncommon for evacuees to be told they'll be able to return home soon - but weeks, even months may pass before they are finally able to return to a storm-damaged area.
**NEW!! Ferret disaster care tipsheet!
(A printable and downloadable PDF)
These organizations offer comprehensive disaster planning tips, free brochures, downloadable information and disaster training:
UAN's Emergency Animal Rescue Service >
State Animal Response Teams
Humane Society of the United States >
This PowerPoint presentation on disaster preparedness - with special information about preparing for your pet's care if you are injured or killed - was done by Lisa Leidig, director of the Ferret Haven By the Sea ferret shelter in southeastern Virginia.
Click to view the presentation >
WHAT TO KNOW
BEFORE YOU EVACUATE ...
The vast majority of shelters do not allow pets. Those that do may not be prepared to handle ferrets,
or may just be overwhelmed following a disaster. If you are evacuated by bus, boat or other transportation provided for you, you probably will not be allowed to bring your pets, even in a sturdy carrier. Therefore, you must have an evacuation plan and a disaster kit ready to go at all times.
Making a pet disaster kit >
Making your own disaster kit >
Websites with lists of ferret shelters and ferret-savvy veterinarians, by state:
International Ferret Congress >
Ferret Central >
Support Our Shelters >
Notices of lost and found pets, lists of shelters taking in rescued pets, and volunteers working to reunite displaced owners and pets:
Microchipping is painless, inexpensive and highly effective. It may be your best shot at finding a lost pet after disaster strikes:
AVID Microchips >
Find lodgings that accept animals:
Pet-friendly hotel list >
Ferret owners in areas with prohibitive laws - California, Hawaii, Dallas or New York City - must take special precautions. Helpful information here >
The Emergency Love Fund, created and managed by the International Ferret Congress, and Support Our Shelters can help with supplies, emergency medical care and other disaster-related costs.
Emergency Love Fund >
Support Our Shelters >
Help with transporting ferrets from a disaster zone - or if you have any questions about the content of this website, need additional resources or information, etc. We welcome your feedback! Please feel free to link to us from your own website, too.
CONTACT US >
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