This Saturday marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and its suburbs.
In addition to the impact on human lives, hundreds of thousands of animals also died, were left behind, or were displaced. This prompted changes in the way people's pets are handled during a disaster.
Dick Green, senior director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team, has been involved in about 125 international disaster responses. He said nothing he's seen could compare to Katrina.
"We just saw and experienced so many heart-wrenching cases and so many daring rescues, that I just don't think I'll ever see another one of those in my career," he said.
As a result, President George W. Bush signed the Pet Evacuation Transportation Standards Act in October 2006. This requires all planning entities at all levels of government to include people and pets in evacuation plans, Green said.
Whether you're preparing for hurricanes in New Orleans, or earthquakes in L.A., the ASPCA has tips to help you take care of your beloved pets:
- Have a go-bag ready that includes medical records, a photo of your pet and medications the animal may need
- Make sure your pet has up-to-date collars and microchips
- Place alert stickers in your window. Should your pet get left behind, rescuers will know your pet is inside.