The City of San Francisco is providing leadership in the area of disaster planning for pets. Following the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when pet owners were refused shelter if they brought their pets with them, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 made federal funding available for authorities to plan to help companion animals that are affected by disasters.
In San Francisco, pet-disaster responders will have authorised training and they will use a network of 125 temporary shelters to evacuate animals. Injured animals will be treated in a $300,000 mobile animal disaster medical command unit (funding for this is still pending).
Best of all, the city’s department of Animal Care and Control has a No Pets Left Behind policy. Whenever a citizen is rescued, their pets will be rescued too.
For those of us who have lived through a major disaster like Christchurch’s 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, we know the importance of having supplies and an evacuation plan for your pets. It’s also a challenge to get authorities coordinated to respond to animal welfare problems during major events.
Read more about San Francisco’s disaster planning in this New York Times article.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand