Newsday Tuesday – Is Fire Approaching–Flooding? Please Don’t Leave Your Pets Behind!

It has happened again. There are horrific fires raging in Southern and Northern California. Along with news reports of the fire’s intensity, evacuations, deaths, etc., come personal stories. Many of those focus on the animals. I’m appalled by the number of people who leave their pets behind. Some people are shown on TV coming back to check on their dog or cat after the danger has passed (or after their home was lost). What??? Why was the pet left alone amidst that danger in the first place? This I do not understand.

Firefighters and other responders are often shown rescuing a dog from a second-story window of a flooded home, cats are found suffering from injuries after a tornado or hurricane. Last week a fireman rescued a cat on the front porch of a burning home forty miles from me. The cat was drenched (from the firemen’s hoses) and badly burned. They were able to capture him and get him help. But the question remains, why was he left behind?

One answer might be not enough time and I can understand that to an extent. Certainly, a disaster can catch you off guard. I know of some who left their homes in the middle of the night during the Thomas fire, in their pajamas with only their purse and car keys. But others wait around until flames are lapping at their windows before executing a plan to leave.

Many of us do not have adequate provisions and a plan for disasters. We might buy extra water and bandages, then use them up over time and not replace them. But surely you have carriers for each of your cats, bunnies, tortoises, birds, and harnesses/leashes for dogs, pot bellied pigs or whatever else you care for. You wouldn’t leave a child behind to fend for themselves in an emergency situation. Why do people bother to take in a pet and commit to him or her, then abandon the pet when he really needs your protection?

Folks, no matter where you live or what disasters might visit your area, start today preparing for the possible evacuation or other sort of emergency for all of the pets you’ve acquired. If it is impossible, I’d say it’s time to relinquish some of those animals to someone who can protect them even in time of disaster.

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