The Humane Society of the United States
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Disaster FAQ

Learn more about animal rescue efforts that are underway in the wake of recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.


Last updated October 15, 2018 1:30 a.m. EST

Contents


General

Hurricane Michael

General Information


How can I support HSUS efforts to help animals impacted by natural disasters?

Please support rescue and relief efforts by donating to our Emergency Animal Rescue Fund. Your gift will ensure that our team can continue to answer the call during times of emergency wherever and whenever animals need us.

Where can owners find their pets if they were separated during evacuation or rescue efforts?

First and foremost, contact the animal control agency in the area you last saw your pet. There are several websites that also have information on animals rescued during the hurricanes. You can find an updated list of these sites at Find My Lost Pet. We encourage owners to try different search terms, as animals are sometimes labeled by different breeds then what owners have on paperwork.

I want to foster a displaced pet. Where can I go to sign up?

Please go to fosterahurricanepet.com for more information on fostering. If you are able to help with equine, please visit the Horse Helpers Directory.

We also encourage you to reach out to our Emergency Placement Partners near you to see if fosters are needed.

The following shelters have taken in adoptable animals from Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and/or the British Virgin Islands in response to recent hurricanes:

  • San Antonio ACS (TX)
  • Houston Humane Society (TX)
  • St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center (NJ)
  • Seattle Humane (WA)
  • Oklahoma Humane Society (OK)
  • Tulsa SPCA (OK)
  • Humane Society of Tulsa (OK)
  • Humane Society of Central Oregon (OR)
  • Homeward Trails (VA)
  • Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation (VA)
  • Humane Rescue Alliance (DC)
  • Tri County Animal Shelter (MD)
  • Anti-Cruelty Society (IL)
  • McKamey Animal Center (TN)
  • Nashville Humane Association (TN)
  • Humane Educational Society (TN)
  • HAWS of Waukesha (WI)
  • Northwoods Humane Society (WI)
  • Animal Rescue League of Iowa (IA)
  • Wilson County DART (TN)
  • Harbor Humane Society (MI)
  • Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (NY)
  • Lakeshore Humane Society (WI)
  • Fox Valley Humane Association (WI)
  • Potter League for Animals (RI)
  • Southhampton Animal Shelter Foundation (NY)
  • Angels of Assisi (VA)
  • Van Buren County Animal Control (MI)

My shelter can take animals. How can we help?

If you are located in an area impacted by recent storms, we encourage you to reach out to area shelters to let them know you can help. If you are interested in becoming an Emergency Placement Partner with the HSUS in the future, please visit humanesociety.org/epp.

I heard that a particular city or area needs help. Can you help?

In order for an out-of-state organization to assist in a federal disaster area, there has to be an official request from the appropriate agency or emergency official. If a group or agency is in need of help, we ask that they contact their local emergency officials, who—if assistance is needed—will get the request to us. These protocols are in place to ensure there is not chaos created by outside groups coming in unrequested, and to ensure the assistance is sent to where it is needed most.

I can travel to an area impacted by one of the disasters, how can I help?

Beyond trained responders who were contacted, it is imperative that no one go to the area on their own or self-deploy. The HSUS won't be able to use volunteers who haven't gone through official training. If people who self-deploy come, and get stranded, emergency response attention must then add them to the long list of rescues, and divert attention away from the existing priority rescue work. It is simply too dangerous, and also may result in lost/stray animals not going through the official systems that can ensure they are reunited with owners.

If you are not a trained volunteer but would like to become one, you can learn more about the requirements and fill out an application.

What do I need to take when evacuating with my pet?

If you are evacuating or relocating with your pet, see our disaster preparedness kit list to make sure you have everything you need to keep them healthy and safe.

What percentage of donations to the Emergency Animal Rescue Fund goes toward disaster relief?

Donations made to our Emergency Animal Rescue Fund are used for the HSUS’ preparedness, rescue and relief efforts for these and future disasters. This includes paying for: the care of animals; the cost of deploying resources to a location (such as staff, transport, etc.); increasing the infrastructure and capacity of our disaster response efforts through fundraising, education and awareness raising; the support of shelters and rescues taking animals from us; transporting animals from affected areas; and in some cases, long term support of pets in the community going forward.

Our priority is always to use donations in the most effective and efficient way possible so that we are always ready to help animals in times of disaster.

Hurricane Michael


Where can I receive up-to-date information on Hurricane Michael?

You can follow the storm at the National Hurricane Center.

What should I do to prepare for Hurricane Michael?

Make a disaster plan for your pets (large and small) now. The HSUS offers tips on preparing a disaster kit, finding a safe place to evacuate with your pets and sheltering in place. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. For more information on disaster preparedness, visit humanesociety.org/disaster.

What is the HSUS doing to help?

The HSUS has reached out to our rescue and shelter partners in the areas threatened by Hurricane Michael and is providing financial support for transports of adoptable animals in order to increase the capacity of communities to care for animals displaced by Hurricane Michael. Our Animal Rescue Team is in Escambia County, Fla. responding to the needs of animals and shelters impacted by the storm and is continuing to move equipment and personnel to areas that have been hit hardest. Additionally, the HSUS distributed information about pet disaster preparedness in advance of the storm making landfall.

My shelter can take animals. How can we help?

We encourage you to reach out to potentially threatened shelters to let them know that you can help. If you are interested in becoming a Shelter and Rescue Partner for the HSUS in the future, please visit our Shelter and Rescue Partners page.

I need help evacuating pets from my residence/shelter. Where do I start?

If you need assistance evacuating your residence/shelter, please contact your local emergency manager.
North Carolina
South Carolina
Florida
Alabama
Georgia
Full list of state emergency contacts.

I need help evacuating livestock. Where do I start?

The HSUS emphasizes the importance of making a disaster preparedness plan for all pets—horses and livestock included. Individuals looking for assistance with livestock should call the county in which they are located and ask if they have an emergency shelter or location for animals. It is also advisable to call local animal control to flag the property so it is on the radar of emergency officials for assistance, and make all animals have access to fresh water. Check for updates specific to your state below:
North Carolina
South Carolina
Florida
Alabama
Georgia
Full list of state emergency contacts.
More information on disaster planning:
For horses: www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/disaster_preparedness_horse.html
For farm animals:
www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/disaster_preparedness_for_livestock.html
www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/taking_precautions.html
www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/farm_disaster_kit.html
And for pets:
www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/pets-disaster.html

I can drive to impacted areas. How can I help?

People who are part of the HSUS disaster response team will be emailed directly if their help is needed. Beyond those trained responders, it is imperative that no one go to the area on their own or self-deploy. The HSUS won’t be able to use volunteers who haven’t gone through official training and there are already a lot of trained volunteers in the impacted region who are on standby to help when called. If people who self-deploy come and get stranded, emergency response attention must then add them to the potentially long list of rescues and divert attention away from the existing priority rescue work. It is simply too dangerous and also may result in lost/stray animals not going through the official systems that can ensure they are reunited with owners. If you are not a trained volunteer, but would like to become one, you can learn more about the requirements and fill out an application.

I heard that a particular city or area needs help. Can you help?

In order for an out-of-state agency to assist in a federal disaster area, there has to be an official request from the appropriate agency or emergency official. Each state has protocols in place for how to make these requests during a disaster and if a group or agency is in need of help, we ask that they contact their local emergency officials, who—if assistance is needed—will get the request to us. These protocols are in place to ensure there is not chaos created by outside groups coming in unrequested and to ensure the assistance is sent to where it is needed most.

How can I support the HSUS's efforts to help animals impacted by Hurricane Michael?

The HSUS Animal Rescue Team is deployed in Florida, where we are preparing to work with local officials to transport, rescue and care for animals. Your support is urgently needed, both so we can help during this emergency and to support our preparedness, rescue, care and relief work in all other emergencies, including natural disasters and cruelty cases. Please consider making a gift to the Emergency Animal Rescue Fund today.

I have an animal or a friend or family member who needs rescue. What do I do?

If you need rescue, or have friends, family or pets in an impacted area and in need of rescue, call 9-1-1.

I want to donate supplies for local animal shelters. What should I send?

The best thing for out-of-state folks to do at this point is donate money and supplies to impacted shelters and those that are taking in animals. Please check with those organizations before sending supplies to make sure what you want to send is actually needed and helpful; many shelters will have lists of their top needs on their websites.

What is the HSUS's response to all the farm animal deaths due to flooding?

The HSUS is heartbroken by the reports of the catastrophic numbers of farmed animal deaths resulting from the flooding related to Hurricane Michael. We are deeply saddened that these animals needlessly lost their lives and we stand with you in the feeling of devastation that this continues to happen despite what we have seen occur time and time again.

It was only a year ago that we were helping provide logistical support to farmers with stranded livestock during Hurricane Harvey, so that these animals had access to fresh food and water. Although we have come a long way in understanding the impact catastrophic loss of life has on the animals and community, as evidenced in 2008 during the floods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where farmers released their pigs en masse as a last ditch attempt to let them live, it is clear that disaster planning for animals held in large numbers is far from where it needs to be for the lives affected, both human and animal.

Having an emergency plan, regardless of the numbers of animals at your home, facility or farm, is the responsibility of the humane steward caring for their welfare. If the sheer number of animals makes evacuation extremely difficult or impossible, then a hard look needs to be taken at the number of animals being cared for and the opportunity for them to be considered in an emergency plan. The cost of not doing so, as we can see here, has a devastating impact on the community, the environment and the animals, and are further examples of why we need to reduce the reliance on these massive factory farms.

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