February is all about being a responsible pet owner. What do responsible pet owners do?
They have their pets spayed and neutered, and encourage their friends and family to do the same. Spaying and neutering not only helps control animal population, but it can also protect dogs and cats from various diseases, including cancer.
They give their pets plenty of exercise, whether by walking their dogs, or taking them for romps in city or dog parks. Exercise in park settings often promotes confidence and socialization for dogs. And cats can often benefit from exercise in the home setting, as well.
They feed their pets a nutritious diet, thus boosting their immune system, which helps to keep them healthy.
They groom their pets as often as required for the specific breeds they own. Good grooming includes trimming, washing and brushing their coats; trimming their nails; cleaning their ears and teeth.
They allow their dogs to live inside their house, rather than having them stay outside in a backyard kennel. Dogs are social, pack animals and their confidence and sense of wellbeing is jeopardized when they are left alone outside.
They train their dogs. Training a dog gives the dog a job to do and guidelines for proper behavior. It also instills confidence. Behavior problems are often eliminated with regular, positive training.
They have their dogs wear collars with up-to-date identification and their current rabies vaccination tag. Indoor cats benefit by wearing collars and tags in case they escape from their house. Responsible cat owners also make sure their indoor-outdoor cats wear a collar with identification tags.
They carry bags and clean up after their dog when they go for outdoor outings. This helps prevent the spread of diseases, and assures a clean environment for everyone to enjoy.
February is the month in which pet owners are urged to be responsible by spaying and neutering their pets. It is one of the most important things responsible pet owners can do to help their pets lead a happy and healthy life!
Sometimes large-scale events and unforeseen circumstances can slow down
recovery efforts, and sometimes all it takes is something small – like a
toad. In case you don’t regularly read the Austin American Statesman,
you may have missed an interesting story that shows the complex nature
of disaster recovery. Those involved with disaster recovery need to
think about a wide variety of factors that come into play, including the
cleanup efforts’ effects on animals.
To set the stage, a historic wildfire season hit Texas in 2011, and we continue to work in support of state and local officials in providing assistance
to affected individuals and local governments. This assistance to local
governments includes supporting removing debris in some of the damaged
A small, rare object that could soon be spotted hopping nearby, however,
has the potential to delay FEMA-funded recovery projects in certain
areas. This object is the endangered Houston toad, which surfaces during
mating season. Emergency managers have a responsibility to carry out
our jobs in a manner that avoids or minimizes adverse impacts to the
environment, especially potential impacts on endangered species. Read the full story
Photo of the endangered Houston Toad. (Courtesy of the National Fish and Wildlife Service)
According to Wikipedia, reptiles are characterized by breathing air, laying shelled eggs (except for some vipers and constrictor snakes that give live birth), and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes.
The Reptile Databaselists six categories of reptiles: Lizards, Snakes, Tuataras, Crocodiles, Amphisbaenians, and Turtles. Within those six categories, there are many different species from the tiny Dwarf Gecko to the huge saltwater crocodile.
The Reptile Channel is a great resource of information, including a special page about Reptile Awareness Day, with suggestions on things you can do in observance of their day. If you have a reptile as a pet, be sure to check out their Care Sheets for great information on how to be a responsible reptile owner.
SOME REPTILES ARE ENDANGERED
The numbers of San Francisco Garter Snakes has dropped to between one and two thousand, mainly due to collectors selling them on the black market, and well as urbanization and pollution.
The Green Sea Turtle population off the coasts of Florida and Mexico are close to extinction because of commercial harvesting. Did you know that it takes a female Green Sea Turtle 20 to 50 years before she begins to lay eggs?
The world's largest lizard, the Komodo Dragon, is found in only one place today -- Komodo National Park and a small group of islands off the coast of Indonesia. They are threatened due to volcanic eruptions and forest fires, as well as human destruction of their habitat.
The Tuatara is a lizard-looking reptile that is believed to be one of the oldest species on Earth! They live in New Zealand, and face the threat of extinction due to habitat loss and the introduction of predators like rats, weasels and badgers.
The Gharial is a crocodile-like reptile with a long, narrow snout and numerous sharp teeth. It is found only in the rivers of India, and a few surrounding areas like Bangladesh and Pakistan. There are only about 1,500 Gharials in the wild today. Source
Disaster Preparation for Reptiles
In the event of a disaster or emergency that requires evacuation, you should have a special disaster kit just for any reptiles you keep as pets. The following is a list of items for your kit from Red Rover:
Food and Water:
A two-week supply of feeders/prey items if fed
A two-week supply of water, stored in a cool, dark location. Rotate every two months to ensure freshness. If tap water is not suitable for humans to drink during a disaster, it is also not suitable for cats to drink.
A two-week supply of pelleted food if fed, stored in an airtight, waterproof container and rotated every three months for freshness.
Food and water source for feeders
Baby food or fruits and vegetables stored in their own juice or in water, with a can opener if needed
Ice chest and cool packs to store frozen prey items
Calcium and/or vitamin supplementation if needed
Dechlorinator for water
Tongs for feeding
Baby food and canned fruits and vegetables are a great substitute when fresh produce is not available. However, avoid those with added salt or sugar. Many reptiles and amphibians eat live or frozen/thawed prey. Consider the care and nutrition of the prey animals when making your disaster plans
Housing and Transportation:
Carrier or evacuation cage if your existing enclosure is too large to transport
Small enclosure with a secure lid for when destination is reached
A hide box such as a bowl, box or flower pot that can help your herpatile feel more secure.
Most reptiles and amphibians can be transported in a small, hard-sided carrier, but snakes are normally more secure and safe in a knotted-off pillowcase. Bring your own extension cords to make use of power outlets, but prepare to provide heat without power.
Microchip (many larger reptiles and amphibians can be microchipped; ask your veterinarian)
Photos of you with pet to prove owership if you are separated
Photos’ showing any distinguishing features of your pet
Copy of veterinary records
Health and Safety:
A two-week supply of any medication your pet is taking
First aid kit including antibiotic ointment, Betadine solution for cleansing and disinfecting, gauze for cuts and wounds, cornstarch to stop minor bleeding, tweezers and scissors and Q-tips. Ask your vet for other recommendations. Order a complete pet first aid kit at the UAN Store.
Hot and cold instant packs
Contact numbers for your vet and a vet out of disaster area
An appetite stimulant such as Reptaid can come in handy if your reptile or amphibian stops eating due to the stress of the emergency. Spray bottles are handy for misting the enclosure to ensure appropriate humidity. Instant hot and cold packs are great for regulating the temperature of the enclosure during a power outage.
Cleaning and Sanitation:
Liquid soap for washing food and water bowls, paper towels, and disinfectant for cleaning crates and carriers.
Rinse all dishes/enclosures well, as reptiles and amphibians are sensitive to chemicals ingested or absorbed through the skin.
Here's a video about How to Care for Reptiles. Your kids will like it! Happy Reptile Day, everyone!
How often have you been awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of cats fighting or mating? How many times have you or someone you know taken a pet, or an unwanted litter, to the local pound or shelter because you could not afford to keep them all? Do you know people who, instead of taking unwanted pets to a shelter, simply take them out in the country and dump them somewhere? What do you do when you see a stray around your home or in your neighborhood?
Imagine for a second that these cats and dogs are people. That shouldn't be too big a stretch for many pet parents, since we tend to think of our pets as children. Four million lives snuffed out each year. Almost half the population of New York City. More than the population of Los Angeles. More than the populations of Philadelphia and Phoenix combined! Source
Four million dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies are being killed ... why? Because "dog pounds" and shelters don't have room for them all, or the staff to take care of them, or the money for food, water, and medical care.
1. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
2. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
3. Your spayed female won't go into heat.While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!
4. Your male dog won't want to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved. Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
7. It is highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community. Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
9. Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth. Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
Don't think you can afford to have your pet spayed or neutered? Think again! More and more veterinarians and organizations are offering low-cost spay/neuter clinics on special days which usually are publicized in your local newspaper or on your local TV channels. We have seen many across the country advertising spay/neuter services for as little as $15.00. You can do this! Just think of the peace of mind you will gain knowing that your pet won't be the one responsible for creating a litter of unwanted babies that could end up being euthanized at a shelter.
If you don't know where to take your pet for a low-cost spay or neuter procedure, find one here:
What about those cats that wake you up in the middle of the night? You know -- the wild ones that won't come near you. October 16th was "National Feral Cat Day," a day established by Alley Cat Allies to bring attention to the issue of feral cats. Somewhere along the way, someone dumped an unwanted cat or litter of kittens, and they learned to survive on their own, having litter after litter. Feral cats are domestic cats that never had a real home. They were born in the "wild." They never learned to socialize with humans and therefore are afraid of us. They cannot be adopted. The ones that are trapped and taken to your local pound or shelter are killed.
You and your neighbors can work together to stop them from reproducing through a program called "Trap-Neuter-Return." Alley Cat Allies writes: "This program ends reproduction, stabilizes feral cat populations, and improves individual cats' lives. The behaviors and stresses associated with mating -- pregnancy, yowling, and fighting -- stop." You can learn more about it at the Alley Cat Allies website.
There are TNR programs already established in many areas of the country that will welcome your help, or you can learn how to start your own neighborhood program at the Alley Cat Allies website here.
Pet overpopulation in the U.S. is a serious problem that we can do something about. Discuss it with your friends and neighbors, and help put an end to the tragic killing of so many animals.
In 2009, a very special documentary, No Dog Left Behind was released about the efforts by American soldiers in Iraq to bring home dogs who had become their friends and comforters. The Internet Movie Database summarizes the story this way:
"A deeply personal documentary that reveals the power of the human-animal
bond to comfort, heal and inspire the best in people in the worst of
times and to find their humanity in the midst of dehumanizing
conditions. It is a story about the enduring friendships forged in
wartime between four military men and women and the dogs they rescued in
Iraq, dogs who became heroes in unexpected ways. Battling military
prohibitions and all but impossible odds, these soldiers and Marines
attempt to bring their canine battle buddies home to safety in the U.S.
with the help of a determined rescuer - fighting not just for their
animals' lives, but for their own."
Ellen Goosenberg Kent
The Military Channel originally aired the documentary in 2009, but is repeating it this month. According to their website, it is being aired 10/12 - 10/27. Check your local listings. You can see 4 different trailers for the moviehere.
The "determined rescuer" referred to in the IMBDb summary above is Terri Crisp, an SPCA Internationalstaffer who was given the assignment of figuring out a way to help "Charlie" out of Iraq. Ms. Crisp has a new book about her experiences -- "No Buddy Left Behind."
We offer our admiration and thanks to SPCA International and Terri Crisp for their hard work over the years in rescuing these and other disaster animals.
In addition to the movie trailers, below is a video about "Nubs" (which leads to another video about the Stateside reunion of these two) and an interview with Terri Crisp about her new book.
We wish you a safe, happy weekend, and, as always, we welcome your comments.
The month of October has been designated as National Animal Safety and Protection Month. According to the PALS Foundation, it is an "observance to promote the appropriate ways to protect and care for domestic and wild animals and help people strengthen skills for staying safe around animals."
Mahatma Ghandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. This is a good time to remember how important animals are to our lives, whether they are pets, animals that are raised for our food supply, or the many types of animals in the wild that make our world so interesting and beautiful. During October, some schools and libraries have special programs to teach children how to help their pets stay safe, as well as how to stay safe around wild animals, and the importance of protecting our wildlife.
If you have a dog, one way you can protect him or her is to use a safety restraint in your vehicle. The video below shows what can happen when a dog isn't restrained during a sudden stop or crash.
Our animals depend on us for their well-being. In return for responsible pet ownership, we are rewarded with their unconditional love and loyalty.
MARYLAND: Rockville residents seeking shelter for their pets can drop them off in cages at
the Bauer Drive Community Center at 14625 Bauer Dr. That
facility opens at 4 p.m., according to county spokeswoman Esther
MASSACHUSETTS: Northampton Pet-friendly shelter at Smith Vocational/Agriculture High School, Locust Street opens 5 PM Sat.
NEW JERSEY: Pets welcome at all evacuation shelters across the state, per Gov. Christie. Bring your own pet supplies.
Notice to Millburn-Short Hills Residents: Millburn High School will be open as a reception center for people
needing shelter, but officials stress that it is meant only for people
with “no other place to go.” Evacuees will be taken via school bus to a regional American Red Cross shelter in Morris County. Emergency Management officials also want to make it clear that no pets,
other than service animals will be allowed and people need to make other
arrangements for their animals. Full story.
Members of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team are
working alongside the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
and the OEM’s Animal Planning Task Force to assist with the city’s
disaster relief efforts. Full Article
NORTH CAROLINA: Horse shelters: Sen. Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center in Williamston and Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh.
NEW JERSEY: Cape May County Emergency Management Coordinator "urged pet owners to bring their animals, including those heading to shelters. He said it is important in light of the number of people who remained during Hurricane Katrina when it struck Louisiana. Those who are concerned about their pets but can’t take them along can drop them off at the Cape May County Airport on Breakwater Road in Lower Township, where arrangements for their care can be made." Full story
Toms River: The shelter at High School North will open Friday at 8 a.m., and will be pet-friendly.
Westwood-Washington Township: The borough will open a shelter at the Westwood Community Center if needed, but pet food will not be available. Bring pet food, leashes and carriers for pets if you evacuate.
New York City: Pets are not allowed in city shelters. Service animals are allowed. If pet owners are required to leave their homes in an emergency, the city advises owners to arrange for family or friends outside the danger area to shelter their pet. Only “legal pets with proper identification” will be admitted into city shelters with their owners, the city says on its website. Read "Ready New York for Pets"
Southampton News: Experts Urge Residents to Remember Pets During Hurricane.
Suffolk County - Call Fire Rescue Emergency Service and listen to the radio for pet-friendly shelters.
Riverhead: The county will most likely open a shelter in Yaphank that will accept both people and pets.
New Hanover County, Opening 6 p.m. Friday, Noble Middle School, 6520 Market Street, Wilmington (pet-friendly shelter)
Brunswick County: West Brunswick High School, 550 Whiteville Road, Shallotte (pet-friendly shelter)
Pets will be accepted at any shelter. However, West Brunswick HS is the only co-location shelter where pets will be sheltered in the same building as their owners. Pets taken to North or South High Schools will be transported to another location for sheltering. Full story
Guilford County Animal Shelter waiting to hear whether they will need to send their large trailer to transport or treat animals.
Camp LeJeune: Onslow County Animal response Teams manage a pet shelter co-located with a Red Cross shelter at Jacksonville Commons Middle School. Dogs, cats and caged birds are accepted as long as animals are accompanied by their owners and those owners stay in the adjacent emergency shelter.
An emergency shelter for residents with animals will also be set up at the Warren Recreation Center, or the old Mary V. Quirk building at 790 Main Street. Residents should be aware that anyone bringing an animal must provide proof of vaccinations. Residents are advised that they should bring their own blankets, pillows, and essential hurricane supply kit items. Emergency shelters will be staffed beginning at 6:00pm Sunday evening.
Chesapeake will open four shelters Friday at 7 p.m. at Oscar Smith High School, Hickory Middle School, Western Branch High School and Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. A pet shelter will be available at River Crest Community Center, 1001 River Walk Pkwy., and pet owners can stay at Oscar Smith High. Pet owners must provide food and bedding for their pet. A cage/crate and vaccination information should also be provided but are not required.
Hampton: "If shelters are opened, Bethel High School would be the first shelter. We would be prepared to allow residents who are sheltered there to bring pets. Residents should bring cages or crates, if possible, as well as pet food, medications and anything else the animals might require." Residents can find out about shelters close to them by calling 211.
The Pitt County, NC Animal Shelter says it can house pets if owners are forced to evacuate. Pets must have rabies tags and proof of immunizations, and an identification tag on the pet's collar if possible. The shelter also suggests bringing clearly labeled collars, leashes, crates and carriers. If the animal is on a special diet they ask owners to provide the food. In order for pets to have the comforts of home, they recommend leaving blankets, towels or other bedding. Source
WHAT IS SART? State Animal Response Teams (SART) are interagency state organizations dedicated to preparing, planning,
responding and recovering during animal emergencies in the United States. Check out the NC SART here.
FIRST REPORTS - August 24, 2011
As Hurricane Irene approaches the Bahamas and heads toward the U.S. East Coast, we begin our reporting of information to help those with animals in the impacted areas keep them as safe as possible. We encourage you to help us add to these resources. If you hear of any pet-friendly evacuation shelters, official notices, or other helpful information, please click on "Comments" below and post it.
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, and have not yet prepared your family and your animals, we hope you will do it today.
Here at Animals in Disaster we sift through dozens of media articles each day in order to bring you the latest information to help you and your pets before, during and after a disaster. With all the natural disasters that have occurred in recent months, there certainly has been plenty of news. But there is one type of disaster news that pops up in our searches every day, deeply affects people and their pets, their families, neighborhoods and communities, yet seldom commands national headlines.
Fires are the most common disaster in the United States. In 2009, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 362,500 home structure fires. A home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds. The American Red Cross responded to a home fire about every eight minutes.
When it comes to pets affected by home fires, it seems that neither the NFPA nor anyone else keeps statistics. However, reliable industry websites generally agree that at least 40,000 pets die each year from smoke inhalation in home fires. Sometimes the owners are not present when the fire starts. Sometimes people must leave pets behind in their rush to save themselves and their children. Firefighters make a heroic effort to rescue pets whenever they can, but a) unless you have a sticker on your door or window, they may not know you have pets inside, and b) many fire departments do not have pet oxygen masks to help pets recover from smoke inhalation after they are rescued.
Most home fires are preventable. We hope you will take the easy steps to protect your family, including your pets, from a home fire. We don't want to lose any of you! Once your home and family are prepared, we also encourage you to join with others in your community to find ways to equip your local firefighters with pet oxygen masks. These could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.
Below is a video of the Top Ten fire safety tips for homes and apartments. We also provide some links below the video for further information.
Free Pet Safety Pack, including an "Animals Inside" window decal from ASPCA
Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist from American Red Cross (a PDF you can print out) Wag'N 02 Fur Life - The Pet Oxygen Mask Initiative on Facebook Project Breathe - An initiative by Invisible Fence to provide pet oxygen masks to fire departments who apply.
Pet Fire Alert - A comprehensive fire alert system designed by a firefighter for homes with pets
Humanity Road, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public with critical recovery information before, during and after a catastrophic disaster. Humanity Road, Inc. and its global volunteers endeavor to provide information that is useful, timely and as accurate as possible, however, they should not be viewed as an authoritative source. Please do not rely solely on the content of this web site for emergency response decision making without verification through alternate sources.