Beware pet owners hurricane Gustav is moving closer to the Gulf Coast States

Animal rescue experts urge people to prepare for disaster and evacuate with pets.
Those who stayed behind when Hurricane Katrina hit did so because they wouldn’t abandon their pets. Animal rescue and disaster preparedness for pets has become vital for saving human and animal lives.

Hurricane Gustav is the seventh tropical cyclone , third hurricane and second major hurricane of the2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It formed on the morning of August 25, about 260 miles (420 km) southeast of Port-au-Prince,Haiti, and rapidly strengthened into a tropical storm that afternoon and into a hurricane early on August 26. Later that day it made landfall near the Haitian town of Jacmel l [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_cyclone] . As of August 31, 88 deaths have been attributed to Gustav in the Caribbean.

The eye of Gustav entered into Greater New Orleans around 5 a.m. CDT on September 1, with the eyewall rain bands first crossing east of Grand Isle,Louisiana.

According to the National Hurricane Center, it is currently a Category2 hurricane, with the technical landfall of the entire hurricane eye expected on the Louisiana coast around midday September  (local time). (Sorce: Wikipedia)

When Hurricane Katrina hit, pet owners were reduced to tears while being forced to leave their dogs and cats in neighborhoods , it happens due to lack of planning, but this time emergency response officials are taking extraordinary care to ensure animal safety during Hurricane Gustav.

At the bus station, a designated pick-up point for evacuees, a pet registration center was set up under green tents. Dozens of white pet-traveling crates were stacked against the curb.

Sandy Cochran, South Carolina state coordinator with United Animal Nations, says that they’re making sure the pets should go where their owners go, during Katrina, there was really no plan for what to do with pets. He came to New Orleans to help with the effort.

Before pet owners boarded a bus, they filed out paperwork about their animal and were given a paper bracelet with a code number on it, she said. That code number was then written on the traveling crate along with the names of the pet and owner.

The pets were loaded onto 18-wheel trucks, which follow their buses to their destination. Every two hours, the truck driver stops to check on the animals, which are fed, watered and kept cool.

A veterinarian was on stand-by at the registration tent to treat sick or injured animals, Cochran said. State officials said they requested about 150 trucks to help transport pets out of the city.

The Louisiana SPCA is evacuating animals and working with other states’ shelters, including the SPCA of Texas. In the meantime, university students are traveling to Shreveport, La., to attend to evacuated pets. The University of Louisiana news service reports.

On Friday, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security issued a request to the state, asking for volunteers to work at a pet evacuation shelter, located on the Shreveport Fairgrounds. Volunteers will work 10- to 12-hour shifts today and possibly in the future. The request is in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav, which is expected to reach Louisiana early next week.

Below is a partial list of some of the organizations that are on the ground right now. They all need donations of money, to keep them doing the good work of saving animals. It’s a VERY costly process. Please consider making a donation.

* Donate to the American Humane Association Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue Fund
* Donate to Humane Society of the United States Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue Fund
* Donate to United Animal Nations Emergency Animal Rescue Group
* Donate to ASPCA Animal Disaster Relief Fund
* Donate to International Fund for Animal Welfare Disaster Relief Fund
* Donate to Best Friends Hurricane Animal Relief Fund

As communities across the Gulf Coast prepare for the possible arrival of Hurricane Gustav, United Animal Nations (UAN) reminds residents to keep their pets safe with the following steps:

1. Bring all pets indoors. Pets left to fend for themselves in high winds and heavy rain can get injured, lost, die and even hamper human evacuation and recovery efforts. Also, keeping pets inside makes it easier for you to round them up if you have to evacuate.

2. Identify potential evacuation locations in advance. A searchable database of pet-friendly accommodations is available at www.petswelcome.com or www.BringYourPet.com. Residents wanting to find an emergency animal shelter can contact their local American Red Cross chapter or local animal control agency.

3. Never leave your pet behind. If you evacuate, take your pets with you. It’s the surest way to guarantee their safety and make sure you are not separated by the storm.

4.Assemble an animal disaster kit that includes food, water, medications, a leash or cat carrier, and photos of your pet(s). This kit will prove useful if roads are blocked, stores are closed or you must evacuate.

5. Make sure all pets have an identification tag and permanent microchip so they can be found easily if lost or separated.

“Animals left to fend for themselves during hurricanes suffer terribly, and evacuees can compound their own stress by worrying about the pets they left behind,” said UAN Director of Programs Karen Brown. “For both human and animal safety, it is vital that every family include their pets in their evacuation plans.”

Pet owners can find other animal disaster preparedness information on the UAN Web site at www.uan.org.

Through its volunteer-driven Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS), UAN provides free emergency sheltering and disaster relief services for animals in communities that become overwhelmed by natural disasters or other crises. Since 1987, UAN has responded to more than 80 disasters, including deploying more than 400 volunteers to six locations in three states after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (Source:UAN)

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