Crane says that EARS encourages
people to take their pets and animals with them if at all possible. "Fences are going to come down, debris is going to be flying around-the best thing to do is to get the horse out of the area before the disaster actually happens."
She cautions that if you must leave your horses when disaster is imminent, at least mark them.
"Paint the last four digits of your phone number on their sides," she advises, "or attach your name and number to the mane in a waterproof bag."
She also advises leaving horses in a pasture where they can get out of the wind and rain, such as a low-lying area, but with a hill in case the water starts to rise. "Do not leave your horse in the barn. Horses in a barn don't stand a chance.
"The very best thing to do is preplan," she notes. "Get a master plan in order, arrange with neighbors and friends how you're going to evacuate the animals and where you can keep these animals before the disaster strikes."
Crane also encourages advance planning for feed and boarding.
"Make arrangements where you'll get your feed and hay from, and where
you can board your horse," she advises. "Even if the flood only
lasts one day, there's a good chance that your feed will be soaked and the
grass will be contaminated with chemicals, such as oil and gasoline, spilled
during the flood. You may not be able to move your horse back home for months."
EARS not only goes to disasters to aid animals, but also has developed workshops to teach disaster preparedness to those who want to help animals during disasters. The volunteers travel to disaster areas and provide food, shelter, transportation and grooming as well as overseeing adoption of unclaimed animals.
For information on EARS or upcoming workshops, contact
Debi Crane at (704) 843-146
or EARS (a division of United Animal Nations) at (916) 429-2457.