A coalition of organizations, including the LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute and the state Department of Agriculture & Forestry, have banded together to reduce the harm animals suffer as a result of disasters.

The Animals in Disaster Advisory Group consists of individuals representing local, state and federal government; and academia and private institutions with expertise in emergency animal preparedness, response and recovery.

The ultimate objective of the group is to save lives and prevent the suffering of both humans and animals involved in a disaster.

“Animal care associated with disaster events and planning is an area of tremendous and growing importance to the disaster management community and affects decisions regarding human lives as well,” said Joseph Booth, executive director of the Disaster Management Institute. “This advisory group is composed of some of the leading experts in the nation and will be instrumental in shaping the future of disaster management.”

The group’s members also include the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Louisiana State Animal Response Team, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, United States Department of Agriculture, North Carolina Department of Agriculture Emergency Programs Division, Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, and Louisiana Department of Health Hospitals, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Section.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said people don’t want to leave their pets behind during an evacuation.

“Our goal is to ensure that their four-legged family members are safe and secure, then we can ultimately get everyone out of harm’s way and eventually back home,” Strain said.

For more information on ADAG, please visit www.sdmi.lsu.edu.