Accidents and disasters such as storms or fires can, and usually do, happen without much warning. Most of us have some sort of action plan made up, at least in our heads, of what to do in such situations. Things such as escape routes, locations of first aid kits, safety areas in storms, etc. But how many of us who own animals or pets have really thought about what to do concerning them during these times?
Before a disaster hits, a list of qualified animal rescuers should be developed to serve as first responders. Only trained disaster personnel experienced in animal behavior should attempt to rescue animals, in this case, dogs. Untrained volunteers should contact the designated animal control officer for assistance. Some helpful tips for animal (dog) rescues:
- Pets should be evacuated with their owners, if possible.
- Always use extreme caution when approaching animals.
- Attempts to capture distressed animals can be dangerous.
- Some dogs may show aggressive behavior in desperate situations.
- If the dog is afraid or in pain, he may show warning signs: ears up, hair on back standing up, barking and showing teeth.
- Sometimes it is appropriate to use sedation.
- Put something between you and the dog, such as a trash can lid.
- Dog repellent may be used.
- Wear appropriate bite-resistant gloves.
- Maintain a first aid kit, properly equipped.
- Carry flashlights to search for abandoned dogs.
We thank all the dedicated animal rescuers for their efforts in disastrous times.