The P.E.T. crew has been busy at Sisters Rodeo Grounds, handling a variety of evacuated animals as a result of the Milli Fire. photo provided
By Jodi Schneider McNamee
You should always have a disaster plan for your pets, no matter what their size.
Make sure that your cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You'll increase your chances of being reunited with Rover or Kitty if they get lost by having them microchipped.
During disasters in Central Oregon the Pet Evacuation Team (P.E.T.) works under the direction of Red Cross and Emergency Services during Central Oregon evacuations. The regional coordinator, Jamie Kanski, is part of the incident command team. There are 124 volunteer and resource P.E.T. members. P.E.T. has assisted with over 15 local wildfire evacuations, including the Milli Fire. They have assisted with the Prineville flood, and assisted after hurricane Katrina. The P.E.T. also offers community presentations for disaster preparedness, in-house training opportunities and training to other agencies.
According to the P.E.T. a good disaster kit for your pet would consist of:
A three-to-five-day supply of each of your pets' normal food with a feeding and watering dish.
Have enough water to last at least one week for each pet in the household. Have written information about your pets' feeding schedules.
Have sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport your pets safely and to make sure that they can't escape.
Have their medications and critical information ready such as your veterinarian's contact info and medical information. And list any behavior issues that might be important.
Have plastic bags to dispose of animal waste. And a small bottle of soap for cleaning animal dishes and paper towels for drying.
For your cat, have a litter box and litter enough to last one week and a scooper to keep the litter box clean.
For your horse, make sure you have a horse trailer ready, whether it's yours or a friends. Have your horse's identification whether it's a microchip, tattoo, or photos and descriptions. Make sure you have all of his medical information and all feed and water buckets.
Find a safe place to stay ahead of time. Never think that you will be allowed to bring your pets to shelter or friends house. Plan arrangements with friends or relatives or contact hotels to see if they are pet friendly. You could also consider a kennel, boarding facility, or veterinarian's office.
The P.E.T. team encourages people to get their large animals out early on, such as a Level 2 pre-evacuation notice, and bring them down to where the P.E.T. has set up to take animals in.
Last week during the Milli Fire the P.E.T. was set up at the Sisters Rodeo Grounds.
Kanski told The Nugget about a case where a Sisters resident brought his horses over to the rodeo grounds to be on the safe side. Others were bringing some livestock. It could be a fiasco trying to get larger animals out at the last minute or at a moment of panic.
P.E.T. is available for both large and small animals. They have special containment areas for both. And their volunteers take good care of the animals.
If your situation isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets! If you must evacuate you have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able - or allowed - to go back for your pet. Any pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed.
If you are not home and need assistance evacuating your horse, call P.E.T.; the volunteers are experienced in animal evacuations and will be allowed back in to rescue animals.
After the disaster, your home may be a very different place, with unfamiliar odors, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust. Don't let your pets roam loose because familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your furry friend might become disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in that kind of situation.
While assessing any damage keep your dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house.
Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible.