Remember your pets when making hurricane plans - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Remember your pets when making hurricane plans

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

For many people, pets are part of the family. Now that we are in the 2015 Hurricane Season, state leaders are reminding you that it is important to have an emergency plan in place for your four-legged friends before tropical weather threatens the Coast.

“Pets are important members of many families, and no citizen should make a decision not to evacuate because they are not sure what they would do with their pet,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “Unfortunately, in past disasters, we have seen people die in areas they should have evacuated because they didn't know what to do with their animals. By planning and preparing ahead of time, these important family members will be taken care of too."

When planning your evacuation strategy, don't forget your pet. Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics, friends and relatives out of harm's way are all potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.

Before a disaster strikes, make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. If you need to go to a pet shelter, you may be asked to show proof of vaccines.

Also, make sure you have a current photograph of your pet, and keep a collar with identification on your pet. If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.

After the disaster, walk pets on a leash until they become reoriented to their home. Often, familiar scents and landmarks will be altered, and pets could easily be confused and become lost.

Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster. After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive, so when out, monitor their behavior.

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