Denver Offers Tips, Free Community Class to Protect Pets During Emergency

Denver Animal Protection, Office of Emergency Management partner up to teach residents how to create a pet preparedness plan ~

DENVER— No one can predict every impending disaster. The Marshall Fire is one example, when a wildfire destroyed or damaged more than 1,200 homes in December 2021—and led to the deaths of an estimated 1,000 pets. But having an emergency preparedness plan puts you in a better position to save the lives of your furry family members.

Denver Animal Protection (DAP) in partnership with the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), as part of National Pet Preparedness Month, would like to encourage you to make a plan to save your pets should a disaster strike near your home. Pets rely on their owners to keep them safe. So, let’s not let them down. 

An emergency preparedness plan may include these suggestions: 

Make sure pets are microchipped and wearing collars with up-to-date identification tags. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped. Make sure the microchip contact information is in your name. If an average person finds your pet, they won’t be able to scan for a chip, but they can read the ID tag. 

Find a trusted neighbor who is often home and give them a key. Some pet owners may feel more comfortable giving a key to a friend or family member, but if a disaster strikes and they can’t make it into your neighborhood, having someone who already lives in your neighborhood increases the odds of rescuing your pet. Make sure this person is comfortable with your pets. This will also be helpful for less dire emergencies, like getting stranded out of town by weather or an unexpected hospital visit. 

Make sure pets are current on vaccines. Some shelters, rescues, hotels, clinics and boarding kennels that might temporarily house pets during disasters will require vaccination records. Have copies of these records handy. Taking a photo of them on your phone means you’ll aways have them ready. 

Contact hotels/motels outside your immediatearea to see if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if a “no-pet” policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home. The longer you wait, the less likely there will be vacancies. 

Identify beforehand boarding facilities and veterinary offices that can shelter animals during disasters and emergencies (include their 24-hour telephone number). 

Construct go-kits. These should have everything you pet needs during an emergency, like food, leashes and medication. Having these ready to go, will save you precious time evacuating your home if minutes count. 

Attend a Pet Emergency Preparedness class. DAP and OEM will also show you how you how to keep your pets safe during a class at Denver Animal Shelter on Saturday, June 10, at 2 p.m. As part of National Microchip Month, the shelter will offer free microchip vouchers for those who attend. You can register here, https://tinyurl.com/4tm9wup4. 

An estimated 60% of Colorado households include dogs, cats, birds, and horses, we love our animals in this state, let’s do all we can to keep them safe. These tips and strong networks with trusted neighbors can make all the difference.

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