Hurricane preparedness for pet owners

It may be hard to believe, but the 2013 hurricane season is just three weeks away.Emergency preparedness officials tell us now is the time to make sure you're prepared. While you're putting together a plan of action, don't forget to include the furry or feathered members of your family.

It's a problem that arises after every hurricane or natural disaster, animals left stranded, left behind when their owners were forced to evacuate.

Lafayette veterinarian Dr. Renee Poirrier wants to make sure that never happens again. She heads up the Louisiana State Animal Response Team, a statewide network of veterinarians, animal control officers, humane organizations and volunteers who are dedicated to saving animal lives during emergencies and disasters. Dr. Poirrier says it's up to every pet owner to have a plan, and now is the time to prepare it.

“The first thing you need to do is make sure you have someplace to go, and the second thing is to gather all the supplies you need. Maybe even have two spots to go to, and try to stay with family and friends so you don't have to depend on shelters and the state,” said Dr. Poirrier.

Once you've decided on a destination, your next step should be putting together a disaster preparedness kit for your pet, including all the supplies and documents you'll need if you seek shelter in a public facility.

“Make sure you have food, water, rabies vaccination certificate, health record, and a crate and pet carrier that is big enough for your pet to stand up in and turn around in, and any other supplies you'll need just in case you have to board him.”

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