Disaster Preparedness

It is a memory that is seared into our national consciousness: the pets that were lost and abandoned after Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and the gulf coast in 2005. It’s the kind of sad story that we certainly don’t want to see happen in Washington County.

Animal Services is here to help as your partner in caring for animals in time of disaster. There’s also a lot that you can do to make sure that your animals don’t need emergency help even in the worst of times.

Washington County Animal Services Response

If disaster strikes, Animal Services is ready to respond. Most of our employees have completed basic emergency preparedness courses and several have finished hands-on technical animal rescue training. 

We have purchased a trailer and equipped it with disaster response supplies, such as first-aid and medical goods, extra crates and kennels, and provisions for temporary shelters. In addition, we have an emergency response manual that outlines procedures and lists community resources where we can temporarily shelter small animals and livestock.

If you are interested in offering temporary shelter during an emergency, call our office at 503-846-7041.

Be Prepared Before Disaster Strikes

The best way to keep your pets safe is to prepare for possible emergencies ahead of time. Here are some tips on how to prepare an emergency plan and kit for your companion animals.

Prepare your pets

  • Make sure your dog wears a collar with a Washington County dog license and your cat wears an identification tag.
  • Also, get a microchip for your pet. A microchip remains in an animal for life and is helpful if your pet loses its collar.
  • Be sure you update your information and that we have your current address and phone numbers. Current information will help Animal Services and emergency personnel reunite your pet with you.

Arrange for a safe haven

  • Keep a list of boarding kennels that accept pets or arrange to take your pet to a friend’s home. Remember, disaster shelters generally do not accept pets.

Assemble an emergency kit

Assemble a kit for your pet and place it next to your personal 72-hour emergency kit and near your home’s exit. Include the following items:

  • Current photo and license to prove ownership
  • Leash
  • Two-week supply of food
  • Three-day supply of bottled water
  • Food and water bowls
  • Crate or carrier large enough for your pet in which to stand up and move around
  • Cat litter and pan
  • Pet’s medication
  • Paper and cloth towels
  • Disinfectants
  • Your pet’s favorite toys.

For more disaster preparation information, check out these helpful Web sites at the Humane Society of United States and the tips from Washington County Emergency Operations Center (English or Espanol).