“…and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” — Lilo & Stitch
With Hurricane Florence making landfall this week, there are already a number of stories about animals, from animals being left behind to strangers going into the storm to rescue animals. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I love animals. My two cats and dog are like children to me, and I would do absolutely anything to keep them safe.
If you need to evacuate, then you need to evacuate your entire family–including your pets.
The PETS Act is an amendment to the Stafford Act that is supposed to take into consideration the needs of individuals and families who have household pets and/or service animals prior to, during, and after a disaster event. However, many people with animals refuse to evacuate because shelters will not accept pets. (I understand this mentality as I share it, but evacuation is a necessity.) Others leave their pets behind because they don’t think they have another choice. (I’m far less okay with these people.) The way I see it, then, there are two possibilities here: either the PETS Acts is not being followed during disaster events or areas that experience disaster events are not effectively communicating to the public where animal-friendly shelters are located.
If faced with a mandatory evacuation, you do what is necessary to keep yourself and your pets safe. For me, if I had to evacuate, I would put both cats into Belle’s kennel with a litterbox, get Belle’s leash on, grab their necessities, and go. I would sleep in my car if it meant keeping them safe and with me. I am that person that would not stay at a shelter if that shelter did not let me keep my animals.
I believe God has blessed me with being the caretaker of these three beings, and I would never dream of doing anything to jeopardize them. To me, they are more than animals. Their lives are no less important simply because they do not speak the same language or communicate in the same way. It is still a life.
If you have been blessed to be the caretaker of an animal, you owe it to them to keep them safe. Your animal has loved you and trusted you–don’t betray them.