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In recent years, we've seen many disasters wreak havoc in different parts of the world: the tsunami in Thailand, Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and the earthquake in Haiti, just to name a few. As pet lovers, our hearts do double-duty, going out to both the people involved as well as their displaced pets. Now that the Gulf Coast is once again in the midst of a disaster due to the BP oil spill, we can't help but wonder how to help the people and pets in the area.
Here at Trips with Pets, we've pulled together some useful information about how to help pets during this tragic oil spill â€“ as well as how to help pets during any type of disaster and what you can do if a disaster strikes where you live.
Help for Pets Affected by the Oil Spill
Local animal shelters in the Gulf region are flooded with dogs and cats that have been given up. Animal Rescue New Orleans has received many calls from families who have lost their jobs due to the spill. Other shelters have doubled and even tripled their intake of pets whose families had to decide that they could no longer afford to care for them.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has stepped in to do what it can to help out and has already transferred many surrendered dogs to their headquarters in Gaithersberg, Maryland. These dogs have been picked up by local shelters and groups for adoption.
HSUS has also made strides to assist families in keeping their pets. 12 tons of dog and cat food have been delivered to the Gulf area to be distributed to residents who have been directly affected by the spill.
There are many ways to make a contribution toward both the pets that have lost their homes and those in danger of being surrendered:
Help for Pets Affected by Any Disaster
There are many organizations geared toward helping pets that are in need at any time. In the throes of a disaster, their response units mobilize and do whatever they can to help. Here are a few that are always grateful for volunteers and financial support:
1. Humane Society of the United States (HSUS): They've already been helping with the oil spill effort and they have their own special National Disaster Animal Response Team (NDARTâ„¢). NDARTâ„¢ is made up of animal care professionals and other qualified volunteers and takes applications for new team members. Donations can also be made here.
2. PAWS: This nonprofit organization specializes in rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, as well as sheltering and adopting homeless pets in Washington State. They also assist in disasters that happen locally. Volunteers and foster homes are needed in the Lynwood, Washington area and donations to the organization can be made here.
3. ASPCA: I don't doubt that you've seen their heart-wrenching commercials advertising the fact that there are so many pets out there who need help. The ASPCA also devotes their efforts for pets that are victims of natural disasters. You can help keep their natural disaster team in action and support the ASPCA as a whole by becoming a member or making a donation.
How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Disasters
You never know if your family will be facing a hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, or any other type of disaster. Not only should you have a disaster plan for you and your family members, you should also have one in place for your pets. Here are a few tips to help you be prepared:
Our website has a full list of what your pet disaster kit should contain and other pertinent disaster preparedness information.
Disasters often strike when you're least expecting it. Pets are very much a part of the family and are also victims of disaster. There are many ways to help, including volunteering and donations â€“ but don't forget about keeping your own family and pets safe by being prepared so that you are able to help others in distress.