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Pets America educates pet owners to help ensure that pets are included in family emergency plans, and responds to disasters, providing evacuated family pets with access to food, water, and shelter during a natural disaster or human-caused crisis.
In a disaster, people are first and foremost concerned about their loved ones, and for so many people, their loved ones are their pets. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, rescue workers had to try to persuade people to leave their pets behind. Many refused, which created what veterinarians on the scene described as the disaster within a disaster. Pets America knows that human lives can be saved by including pets in emergency response plans. The organization teaches pet owners how to handle everyday pet emergencies, as well as how to make disaster plans that keep the whole family safe. Pets America teaches pet first aid and disaster planning workshops and collaborates with emergency officials to create disaster response plans that include pets. In Texas, there is good news, because pets are now being written into state evacuation plans. The challenge is getting systems in place on the other end to handle very large numbers of animals. Pets America has a plan to help make that happen, and disaster experts believe it will make disaster response easier. Pets America has begun working in partnership with the Texas Veterinary Medical Association and the City of Austin, which has committed to making every evacuation shelter pet friendly. Pets America's job is to ensure that Austin can fulfill that commitment by providing trained volunteers to supervise the thousands of animals that may be sheltered in Austin.
- Elaine Acker
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