New York City, New York - Senior director of field investigations and response for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Tim Rickey, warns pet owners not to leave their pets outdoors or alone in the home when asked to evacuate.
"If it's not safe for you to stay behind, it's not safe for your pets either," repeats Rickey who is flying to New York today to help in the pet evacuations as city residents prepare for Hurricane Irene.
The ASPCA helped reunite more than 500 pets with their owners after the recent tornadoes in Joplin.
Rickey suggests pet owners find hotels, family members' homes or pet friendly shelters to protect their pets. He warns against leaving pets with just food and water since it is unknown how long residents might be separated from their homes and unable to return.
The ASPCA also urges all animal owners to make sure all animals are wearing collars, are identified clearly, microchipped, and all information and telephone contact numbers are up-to-date.
In New York City, all evacuation centers and emergency shelters will be pet friendly. Special city zones are being asked to evacuate. If you live in Zone A which includes Coney Island, Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn, Far Rockaway, Broad Channel in Queens, South Beach, Midland Beach and other low-lying areas on Staten Island, and Battery Park City in Manhattan, your areas are in danger of flood conditions.
For all of the pet owners, there are 65 shelters city wide with the ASPCA coordination available for humans and their pets.
"If your animal has a crate, bring the crate, If it has a carrier, bring the carrier. Your animal will be required to be on a leash. Bring any medical stuff and always make sure you have identification on your animal's neck."
As a reminder, the world watched in horror as pets and humans were separated during Hurricane Katrina and thousands and thousands of pets died or were never reunited with their families. Hurricanes are a serious threat, and they are not to be take casually.
Please heed the warnings of the officials. As a person who has personally been through several hurricanes in South Florida, this writer will tell you it can be devastating to humans and animals alike. Stay safe and keep your pets safe too.
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