Don't forget your pets if evacuations come - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Don't forget your pets if evacuations come

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - If you live in a low-lying area prone to flash floods, you've probably been through this before. Hopefully, you have an evacuation plan and place to stay already prepared, just in case.

As you and your family prepare to ride out the storm, pets need to be provided for.

The water can come in a rush, with little time to grab your family, and belongings. That's why officials want you to have a plan in place in case of flash flooding.

"If you have options now, go ahead and decide where are you going to go if you're evacuated," said Humane Society Executive Director Donna Strickland.

And not just for you and your family, but those furry friends, as well. "Of course, we want everybody to stay tuned to WALB, watch the weather, but get ready now and include those pets in your family plan. If you have to evacuate, please include the pets, don't leave them behind," said Strickland.

That's something Humane Society Executive Director Donna Strickland has seen before. In 1994, the shelter took in 2000 pets, rescuing many. Again in 1998, some of the same people left their pets behind. The humane society accepted 800 pets in two days.

"To leave them behind, it's heartbreaking to us, but it's also dangerous, 'cause then animal control and the Humane Society are forced to go out and try to rescue animals and it puts the rescuers in a bad situation as well, so if everybody will plan in advance, we'll all get through this," said Strickland.

While we're not expecting a repeat of the river flooding of 1994, heavy rain and flash flooding can be a danger to animals, too. The humane society will accept pets that have nowhere else to go.

"This should be a last resort. The best shelter is going to be the one that never has to open."

If emergency management officials decide to open a shelter for people who are evacuated from their homes, pets wuill not be allowed. Again, the Humane Society will accept pets from anyone who doesn't have an alternate place to shelter those animals, but only as a last result.


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