East Texas Group Plans to Save Pets in a Disaster

After last year's storms, many East Texas families now have an emergency plan in place. Most of us know what we'll do with our elderly relatives, our children, and our disabled family members when the next hurricane hits. But what about our pets?

Angelina County Animal Control, the sheriff's office, and humane society were overwhelmed last year because many Gulf Coast evacuees refused to leave their pets behind.

Sally Quick, President of the East Texas Working Dog Association, said, "When they get here to Lufkin, which is a major evacuation center, what are they going to do with them? We need to be prepared - and it's not just dogs and cats, it's horses, birds, rabbits; anything that people maintain as pet animals - and we're trying to get a group in place so that we can be of assistance to all these other various organizations."

Last year's evacuation from Hurricane Katrina was disastrous. The visually impaired were separated from their seeing eye dogs and the disabled were separated from their assistance animals.

"The primary thing that animal owners can do is microchipping," Quick said. "[A] microchip is a tiny chip less than the size of a grain of rice that is implanted [under the animal's skin]. And they have microchip readers that automatically give a toll free number to call, and you can find the owner of that pet instantly."

Pet microchips are inexpensive. You can buy them at most vet's offices or at your local humane society. You can also buy one at a fundraiser for the Angelina County Humane Society on October 14th in Lufkin.

If you'd like more information, you can attend an organizational meeting at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at the animal control shelter in Lufkin. The group will talk about what needs to be accomplished in an emergency.