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Animal owners have primary responsibility for the safety and welfare of their animals during emergencies.
During an Emergency
The City of Lake Oswego will coordinate animal emergency response and recovery activities with Clackamas County Emergency Management (CCEM), Clackamas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff, and Clackamas County Dog Services.
The following agencies also have a major role:
American Red Cross: The American Red Cross provides and manages shelter and mass care operations but, because of safety and health regulations, allows only certified service animals in its shelters. The American Red Cross will coordinate with Clackamas County EOC/Dog Services staff to activate animal shelters in close proximity to American Red Cross shelters to accommodate pet owner needs. The Red Cross will also coordinate with CCEM and the EOC regarding non-Red Cross shelters and shelters for pets.
Humane Society: The Humane Society will assist in rescuing animals and coordinating shelter for household pets and service animals.
Oregon Veterinary Medical Association: The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association will assist in locating and coordinating veterinary support during animal emergencies.
What you can do for your pet
If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire, earthquake or flood depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency.
Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. It is particularly important to include pet needs in evacuation planning, as many shelters will not be able to accommodate animals other than those assisting people with disabilities.
- Make sure your pets all have licenses and ID tags and that they are up to date and visible at all times. Put your cell phone number on your pet's tag.
- Find a safe place to stay ahead of time - never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter.
- Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside the immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets.
- Consider a kennel or veterinarian's office. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (include their 24-hour telephone numbers).
- Arrange with neighbors to care for your pets if you are away from home
- Know your pets' hiding places so you can find them quickly for evacuation.
- The ASPCA recommends using a rescue sticker alert to let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian's phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets (and if time allows) write "EVACUATED" across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them. To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form; please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.
- When disaster strikes, bring your pets inside immediately. Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often hide if they are afraid.
- If you evacuate, take your pet. Rule number one: If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. Even if you think you will only be gone for a few hours, take your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able - or allowed - to go back for your pets.
- Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
- For security and control, transport pets in carriers or on leashes.
- Keep a recent photo of your pets in case they get lost.
Pet Disaster Supplies Kit
Whether you are away from home for a day or a week, your pet will need essential supplies. Keep items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy, waterproof containers that can be carried easily. The American Red Cross recommends that your pet disaster supplies kit includes:
- Medications and medical records and a first aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely.
- Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated - and to prove that they are yours once you're reunited.
- Food, potable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and can opener. People need at least one gallon of water per person per day. While your pet may not need that much, keep an extra gallon on hand if your pet has been exposed to chemicals or flood waters and needs to be rinsed.
- Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop, garbage bags to collect all pets' waste.
- Written information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
Additional information is available at the following web sites:
Humane Society - Pets
American Red Cross
Humane Society - Livestock
Clackamas County Emergency Operations Plan (December 2011), Support Annex E – Animals in Disaster
City of Lake Oswego Emergency Operations Plan (see ESF’s 6, 11 and 13)