By Lindsay Pollard-Post
Earl, a category 4 hurricane, could be pounding on East Coast residents' doors within days. For those of us who live in areas prone to hurricanes (or wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, or any other type of disaster) it's crucial to make emergency plans for our animal companions now, before disaster strikes. Here are some tips:
-- Always take animals along in evacuations. Downed power lines and impassable roads may make it impossible to return home for weeks, leaving animals stranded without food or water.
-- Make a list of places that will accept you and your animals during an evacuation. Friends, family, and hotels are good options.
-- Ensure that all animals are up to date on vaccinations and are wearing collars with identification tags.
-- Assemble an emergency kit, including leashes, bowls, towels, blankets, litter, litter pans, and at least a week's supply of food and medications.
-- Leave animals behind only as the last resort. Leave them indoors, with access to upper floors and at least 10 days' worth of dry food and water (fill sinks and multiple containers). Place signs in windows and on the front door indicating the number and type of animals inside—rescue teams may be able to save them.
Done all this? Great! You can help even more animals by donating to PETA's Animal Emergency Fund!