A lot of you may be aware I’ve been assisting the Arkansas areas hit hardest by the tornadoes that devastated many areas on April 27. I’ve also been speaking with officials on proper procedures put in place to save as many pets as possible. Not knowing the law can not only land you in jail, it could prevent a precious pet from being reunited with its legal owner.
The areas hit hardest are under government groups put in place to protect people and property. You can’t just decide to go into an area and rescue pets. Identification is being checked, and if you don’t live in the area, you won’t be allowed in. If you disobey the order to leave the area, you’ll be arrested. This goes for rescue groups as well. When officials decide it’s safe to enter an area to search for pets you’ll be allowed in. Do not try to enter until you’re cleared to do so.
MARKING A PET
One great idea I read has to do with identifying a pet. Collars and microchips are great. But collars can come off, and microchips have a habit of moving around in the body. Someone suggested using a permanent black marker and writing contact information on the pets stomach or inside the ear. While this will wear off over time, it would make identification fast and easy, and wouldn’t require a trip to a vet or shelter to have the chip read.
WHERE ARE THE PETS
It’s important to find out where pets are being taken.Several pets have been misplaced after being found, leading their owners on a scavenger hunt to find them. Here’s the rundown for the Mayflower/Vilonia area, where the tornadoes caused significant damage. This doesn’t include animal lovers who are now sharing their home with a strangers pet. It’s amazing how many are keeping a dog or cat safe until the owner can be found.
- Vilonia-animals taken to Vilonia Animal Clinic
- Mayflower-animals taken to Maumelle Animal Clinic
- Pulaski County-Humane Society of Pulaski County is in charge of their care. If a pet is seen, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office will send out an officer in an attempt to bring the pet to safety.
FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
There are a lot of concerned animal lovers out there wanting to offer the displaced animals a home. While this is good, keep in mind that FEMA disaster laws says any pet recovered must be held for 30 days to give the owner a chance to be reunited with their owner. Many of the pets lost and found have owners still in the hospital recovering from injuries received during the tornadoes.
The following links are to FEMA sites with specific rules to follow with pets in disaster areas:
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A DECEASED PET
Some are taking time to bury the pet. People are very confused on what to do when a dead pet is found in the rubble. First of all, take a photo of the pet. If the pet is wearing a collar with no identification, take a photo of it as well. Be sure to document exactly where the pet was found. It’s best to privately message either a group or vet set up to reunite pets. No one wants to see these images on social media pages, but they’re a necessary part of rescue because you’re identifying the dead.
UNITED WE STAND
This motto has proven true with this latest natural disaster. People are out there searching for pets who survived the storm. In most cases, they’re not dumping the found pets at a shelter. These animals are being cared for in loving homes. Foster homes are being lined up for the pets in clinics until the furbaby parents can be found. People from all over the country are offering what support they can from wherever they are. An huge American Humane Society vehicle arrived last night to aid veterinarians who are overwhelmed with injured pets. Social media is proving invaluable, as those in the disaster area are passing around photos, in hopes of matching a found pet with a lost pet. I hope the Arkansas tornadoes have shown the world how good most of the citizens in this country really are.
In closing, please keep in mind a survivor of a natural disaster may be emotionally impacted for a long time. This goes for human survivors, as well as pets.