Tuesday, August 30, 2011

OK, Fido & Fluffy, you're on your own

To my surprise and disappointment, an online notice from Lawrence Township before Hurricane Irene included a paragraph about shelters if they become necessary. The last sentence read, “Pets are prohibited at all shelter locations and pet owners need to make prior arrangements for care.”

In other words, people can be sheltered, but they should make other arrangements for their pets. Really! Like, leave them at home, wish them good luck and head for safety without them?

Wasn’t there one huge lesson learned from Katrina: that some people would not evacuate their homes if they couldn’t take their pets with them? How could officials – township and/or shelter managers – essentially tell people to leave their pets behind? Or, at some cost and inconvenience if possible at all, to board them somewhere during the storm?

Besides pet stores and veterinarians left and right and even pet TV as part of our lives these days, Lawrence Township has pet licenses and pet censuses and pet clinics for shots – yet residents are expected to turn their backs on their pets when a hurricane moves in?

This “policy” is unacceptable. There has to be better emergency management than this.

(The next post will report on what Lawrence’s mayor had to say on this subject during a phone conversation Monday evening, 8-29-11.)

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