Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752

May 31, 2013

Department of Agriculture and Markets Issues Guidance for Pet Owners During Hurricane Preparedness Week in New York State

State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today issued guidance for pet owners as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week in New York State. 

“Pets play an important role in our family lives and many were displaced just last year as a result of Superstorm Sandy,” said Commissioner Aubertine.  “It’s extremely important for New Yorkers to have a solid plan in place to ensure that their pets are taken care of.”

The most important piece of advice for pet owners comes in three simple words: plan, plan, plan.  As many shelters do not take in pets, make sure you have a plan in place on where to take your pet in the event of an emergency (neighbors, friends, loved ones, pet-friendly hotels/motels).   FEMA also recommends that pet owners take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, food dishes and current photos of your pet with them in the event of an evacuation.  It’s also extremely important that identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened on your pet’s collar.  Pets can also have a microchip inserted by a veterinarian as a permanent form of identification.  Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness with you.  Most importantly, if you leave your dwelling make sure your pets go with you. 

State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith credits coordination between New York State and several non-governmental organizations for the successful animal sheltering efforts seen during and after Sandy:

  • The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets worked with PetSmart Charities and ASPCA to establish a temporary distribution center at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York to coordinate delivery of their donated goods.
  • Supplies were distributed to animal welfare organizations to support temporary emergency shelters, as well as to the pets impacted by Superstorm Sandy. In total, 20 truckloads of donated goods were sent to New York.  These items were then distributed through state staging areas and regional food banks.  A partial list of donated items sent to NY includes:
    • Approximately 421 tons of pet food and cat litter
    • More than 1,000 wire crates
    • More than 900 plastic pet carriers
    • More than 3,000 stainless steel bowls
    • More than 3,000 disposable litter pans.

“In the same way that families must plan and coordinate in advance of natural disasters, the Department of Agriculture and Markets continues to meet and plan with the federal government, other states, and several non-governmental organizations in order to be prepared for the next incident,” said Commissioner Aubertine.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently issued a proclamation designating May 26 through June 1 as the period for all New Yorkers to review their preparedness plans for the upcoming 2013 hurricane season.  Traditionally, the Atlantic hurricane/coastal storm season runs from June 1 through November 30.

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