Following a disaster, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered. Pets may become confused and lost, so it is critical to maintain close contact with and leash pets when they go outside. Also, snakes and other potentially dangerous animals displaced by the disaster may have migrated into the area (especially after flooding). In addition, downed power lines can also be a hazard for people and their pets.
Similar to children and adults, disaster-related stress may change a pet’s behavior. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch your animals closely, and be cautious around other animals – even pets you know. If you evacuate, take your pets with you!
If you are unable to take your pets with you, place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter, food and water. Contact local emergency management for information regarding availability of emergency shelters for pets.
Locate a Missing Pet
Pets displaced by a disaster are frequently kept in shelters and by organizations in the State where the disaster occurred. Contact your local humane society, animal welfare organization, County or State Animal Response Team to locate the shelters or organizations near you. Additionally, a member of the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition may be able to assist in locating the appropriate local response organization.
The search and rescue of pets lost during disasters is undertaken in a coordinated effort between State and local government and local animal response groups with support from FEMA and a range of national animal welfare organizations (such as NARSC, the Humane Society of the United States [HSUS], and Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMATS)). If you are trying to locate pets lost as a result of a disaster, contact your local or State emergency management agency.