We have just entered hurricane season and have already seen Tropical Storm Bill last week in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a reminder that it is never too early to make evacuation plans. These plans should always include the family pets. Conditions in the aftermath of a storm are not safe for pets.
It is important to know that evacuating with a pet requires advanced preparations. Decide now where the evacuation destination will be and if hotels in that area allow pets.
Getting an early jump on leaving with pets is encouraged. This allows for a smoother exit from the city and takes the stress level down a few notches for both people and pets. If a mandatory evacuation is put into place and someone requires the assistance of emergency personnel, there is no guarantee that pets will be assisted as well.
Prior to leaving, make sure all pets have collars with up-to-date identification. Mobile phone numbers should be on pets’ tags and an alternate phone number as well. Having a pet that is tagged with a microchip that is registered and up-to-date will increase the chances of being reunited in the event that they become separated from the family.
It helps to have a checklist of supplies needed for an extended stay away from home. Food, bowls, bottled water and medications are a must. Travel kennels are also recommended for safely transporting pets. If transportation is an issue, have a plan in place with family or friends so that everyone, including pets, can be accommodated.
New Orleans residents needing transportation assistance can register for the City-Assisted Evacuation. This plan has designated pick up spots throughout the city in the event of a mandatory evacuation. Pets can take part in this program but there are restrictions:
Small pets (about 15 lbs.) can ride with owners on the bus. Larger animals, aggressive animals, pets that are hard to control and multiple animals cannot ride with owners to the train station.
If a pet cannot ride the bus, provisions will be made to get that pet to the Union Passenger Terminal.
When registering at the City Assisted Evacuation pick-up points, owners will be asked to register their pet’s information as well. Owners and their pets will be assigned ID numbers that will allow state officials to track where everyone in a family is going, including pets.
Pets should never be left behind when there is the threat of a storm. Having an evacuation plan in place will alleviate stress and allow for a safe exit.
For more information on the City Assisted Evacuation Plan in regards to pets, visit www.nola.gov/ready/hurricane/pets.
- ARNO AT PALMER PARK: Saturday, Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) will have adoptable dogs to meet at the Palmer Park Arts Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the corner of S. Claiborne and S. Carrollton on the Dublin St. side. For information, email email@example.com.
CAT ART AND FILM: Saturday, The Second Annual New Orleans Cat Art and Film Festival, a Feline Extravaganza, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kingsley House, 1600 Constance St. Funny Internet cat videos, original feline art, photo contest, jewelry, food, music, kid’s tent and more. Video screenings at 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 online at www.nocaaff.brownpapertickets.com, or $15 at the door. All proceeds benefit Art for Cats’ Sake, SpayMart and the Louisiana SPCA. For information, call (504) 952-3972.
ADOPTION AND BAKE SALE: Saturday, an Off-site Adoption and Bake Sale, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Blvd. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help the public select the right pet for their family. A variety of shapes, colors and sizes of four-legged friends eager to find a new home will be available for adoption. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org/offsiteadoption for more information.
- SPAY/NEUTER CLINICS: The Louisiana SPCA Community Clinic is offering $20.15 spay/neuter surgeries through August 2015 for all pets residing in Orleans Parish. In addition, microchips will be available at a reduced fee of $10 in conjunction with a spay/neuter surgery or wellness visit and trap-neuter-release for feral cats will be reduced to $10. To make an appointment to spay/neuter your pet at the Louisiana SPCA Community Clinic for only $20.15, call (504) 363-1333. For more information about spay/neuter and other Community Clinic services visit www.la-spca.org/communityclinic.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@ gmail.com, www.animal rescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.