Recently, the Jacksonville Humane Society worked with the Brandywine Valley SPCA to relocate about 100 cats from the state of Florida to the state of Delaware. There, the Brandywine Valley SPCA will evaluate the cats before said felines can be moved to a number of shelters situated throughout the Northeast. Something that was made much smoother by a flight paid for by Malik’s Gifts, which some people might be familiar with as a foundation started up by the NFL player Malik Jackson.
While the process will be stressful on the cats being sent out of the state of Florida, it is nonetheless a necessary move. This is because the Jacksonville Humane Society and other animal welfare organizations operating in the region affected by Hurricane Michael are running out of room at a rapid pace. As a result, they need to move some of their animals out of the state of Florida for a couple of reasons. First, moving some of their animals elsewhere means relieving the pressure on their limited resources, thus enabling them to continue providing a sufficient level of care for their remaining animals. Second, they want to prioritize keeping pets rather than owner-less animals in the state of Florida so that they can reunite those pets with their pet owners once the crisis is over. Simply put, Hurricane Katrina taught people a lot of valuable lessons, which include the incontestable fact that it is much easier to reunite pets with their pet owners when they are still in the same state.
What Happens to Pets During Natural Disasters?
On the whole, this is an excellent reminder of how vulnerable pets and other animals are in a natural disaster. In this case, it seems reasonable to state that the animals in question have a fighting chance at a good outcome for themselves. However, other animals caught in natural disasters are often not so lucky for a number of reasons.
For starters, natural disasters tend to be devastating for wild animals. In part, this is because wild animals are much less capable of getting out of regions affected by natural disasters. For example, humans can use cars and other vehicles to travel enormous distances within a short period of time, whereas most animals can’t pull off the same thing, assuming that they are even aware of the need to get out in the first place. Likewise, there are plenty of conditions that humans would survive fine while other animals would struggle, with an excellent example being low-level flooding. On top of this, it should be mentioned that wild animals tend to be both out-of-sight and thus out-of-mind, meaning that they tend to get either no or next-to-no human help. Never mind how a lot of them tend not to react well to the presence of humans, thus making it that much more difficult to help them even when we are both able and willing to do so.
Unfortunately, domesticated animals often don’t fare much better than their wild counterparts when natural disasters hit. After all, rescuers very understandably prioritize humans over domesticated animals, particularly when they have limited rescue resources at their disposal. As a result, it isn’t unknown for rescuers to force people to leave their pets behind when rescuing them. Likewise, it isn’t unknown for rescue centers to refuse to take pets during natural disasters, which is sometimes enforced by the rules and regulations. As for domesticated animals that aren’t pets, well, suffice to say that they are held in lower regard than pets, meaning that their prospects are that much worse.
Fortunately, there are various things that interested individuals can do to protect their pets in case of a natural disaster. One example would be checking to see if their friends and family members can take in their pets for the duration. Another example would be speaking with their veterinarians as well as their local animal welfare organizations, who should be able to point them in the direction of emergency shelters as well as pet-friendly accommodations. Finally, there is the preparation of a pet emergency kit containing food, water, medication, medical records, recent photos, and rescue alert stickers that can be used to inform rescuers of the presence of a pet, which can be just as useful for pets as standard emergency kits can be for humans.