Pets and Disasters
There are some steps pet owners can take to prepare for disasters even before
hurricane season begins:

  • Contact your local animal shelter, humane society, veterinarian or emergency
    management office for information on caring for pets in an emergency.
  • So pets will be safe if you need to evacuate, spend time before hurricane
    season to find places to board your pet away from coastal areas or near relatives
    who live outside your region.
  • Make sure your pet has a properly fitted collar that includes current license,
    rabies tags, and your updated contact information.
  • Consider having your pet identified through microchip technology. Your
    local veterinarian can assist you in finding a location that provides this
  • Contact motels and hotels in communities outside of your area and find out
    if they will accept pets in an emergency.

During a disaster, bring your pets inside. Never leave a pet outside or tied
up during a storm. If you leave your home after a disaster, take your pets with
you. If you evacuate to a shelter, verify their policy on accepting pets before
you go. Additionally, be aware that your pet’s behavior may change before,
during, and after a disaster.

Medical Care and Shelter

Here are two frequently asked questions concerning what costs may be covered
for pets and animals during a disaster.

What costs are eligible for disaster reimbursement for the medical
care of animals in sheltering states?

If the receiving state requires a vaccination for animals coming into the state,
those costs would be eligible for health and safety reasons. Beyond that, no
treatment is eligible.

Will agencies and organizations providing shelter to pets evacuated
from areas impacted by hurricanes and other disasters be eligible for assistance?

Reasonable costs for sheltering pets brought with their owners to shelters in
host states are eligible. Requests for reimbursement must be submitted by state
and local governments.

Finding Lost Pets
According to the HSUS, more than 6,000 pets were rescued in the Gulf States
affected by Hurricane Katrina. The search and rescue of these pets was undertaken
in a coordinated effort between FEMA and HSUS. These efforts included Veterinary
Medical Assistance Teams (VMATS) and volunteer groups assigned the task of finding
lost pets. Ongoing efforts to reunite pets with their owners continue.

Because of the severity of Hurricane Katrina, many pets were left behind or lost in the wake of the disaster. Many residents who lost pets and have not yet been able to recover them, may be able to find them through the following ways:

  • Contact the local humane society chapter, or call the Southwest Regional
    Office of HSUS at 817-492-8000 to locate local shelters or organization offices.
  • A number of different agencies, including HSUS, are coordinating efforts
    through the World Wide Web—
    This website provides access to a number of resources for locating lost pets.