Carrying pets to safety from the floods in Memphis
Last night, in response to rising floodwaters, a convoy of animal rescuers and supplies rolled into Memphis, Tenn.
It included an 82-foot mobile command center and veterinary clinic from the American Humane Association, tons of pet carriers and supplies from PetSmart Charities, horse trailers and four-wheel-drive and other trucks from private groups and individuals.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) sent in a team of 11 emergency responders and a 36-foot animal rescue trailer.
And an emergency mega-shelter for animals, donated by Belz Enterprises, which manages warehouses and office buildings, is being set up in a warehouse with a capacity to house around 1,000 animals.
Much of the local effort is being coordinated by the ASPCA, whose regional office received the official request from the mayor’s office and the Shelby County Office of Preparedness.
After the storm system that plowed through the South last week, spawning deadly tornadoes and causing widespread flooding, forecasts are predicting yet more rain and floods in the coming days. Humane organizations are working together and with the affected counties to mount a coordinated effort to make sure no pets get left behind.
All in all, a well-coordinated effort is underway to save the animals of people being moved to safety from the floods.
Much has changed in the animal rescue world since humane organizations struggled to put a response together in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Across the country, especially where disasters are most likely, arrangements between local officials and rescue groups are already in place, and humane organizations have held regular practice sessions to coordinate their responses.
Also, after Hurricane Katrina and in response to the outrage over people being forced to leave pets behind when they were being evacuated from New Orleans, Congress passed the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) act, that required local authorities to provide shelter for companion animals in order to be able to receive emergency federal funds.
People with pets being evacuated are being advised to:
• Plan now if you live in a flood-prone area
• Bring any special pet medications with you
• Bring veterinarian information and contact number
• Bring all your pet’s papers. (Emergency shelters will vaccinate unless they have written proof that shots are valid.)
• Don’t bring pet toys to shelters
Anyone going to an emergency shelter can bring pets with them.
People not going to emergency shelters can take their pets to the emergency animal shelter.
What do you say? Have you been involved in animal rescue, either as a volunteer or a person needing help? Let us know in a comment below or on Facebook.
What you can do: Donate to any of the organizations participating in the rescue effort. They include:
Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County
American Humane Association
International Fund for Animal Welfare