Pet caregivers and pets in San Francisco can now sleep better at night. The city’s Animal Care and Control Unit is working on developing an emergency response team, temporary shelters and a trained volunteer mobile response unit to help pets in case of disaster.
In preparation for earthquakes and other disasters that could strike, the city wants to make sure that there are people trained and instructed to help families get to a safe place–and to make sure their pets are with them.
“Often, rescue workers will tell people to leave their animals. We’re telling them to take their animals with them,” said Kat Brown, deputy director of the city’s Animal Care and Control department. “I don’t think there is any question that they will take animals with them if instructed by authorities. And we consider ourselves authorities on this matter” (NYTimes.com, April14, 2012).
Volunteer trainees of this new disaster unit refer to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath that left thousands of pets stranded in the wake of the flooding as an example of what they want to prevent, should an emergency strike San Francisco.
“When I saw what happened at Hurricane Katrina, my heart just broke, seeing all those animals on rooftops,” said Tina Delaney, who runs an errand service in San Francisco. “I have animals, and they are like my family” (NYTimes.com, April 14, 2012).
TAILS is happy to see progressive cities like San Francisco planning for these disasters and hopes to see others follow suit in the near future.