Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team prepares Angelina County disaster plan

The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team is putting together an evacuee and disaster plan for Angelina County.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 12:16 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:12 PM CDT
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ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Natural disasters can occur faster than people are ready for. This sometimes results in families leaving their animals behind.

Angelina County Emergency Management Coordinator Ricky Conner said, “just about probably 60% of the people that come to our area, whether that’s evacuation or sheltering, they have pets, so we’ve got to have to have a plan in place to take care of those animals, whether that’s large animals or small animals.”

Conner said many cities have voiced some concern about animals needing shelter.

“Whether it be dogs, cats, horses, goats,” said Conner.

Interim Director for the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency team, Debra Zoran, said the whole process is about preparing each county and community in the event something bad should happen. They’ve created a teaching rotation for four-year veterinary students to go around to different counties in Texas to help to create an emergency plan.

“That way everybody in the community knows where to go if they’re missing an animal to get reunited with that animal, and also it’s a safe place for them to be until people who may have lost their home can find a new home to where they can take their animals to,” said Zoran.

Zoran said this doesn’t apply to just one type of animal, but different types they plan to house at the expo center in Lufkin.

“You need a disaster plan because they can be hit by hurricanes, but they also can have fires. They can have floods, or they can just be needing to help people that are evacuating,” she said.

Zoran said what they oftentimes don’t have is the knowledge to put together a good enough plan to properly house these animals.

“It’s not the whole community that needs these resources, but it’s the people that don’t have the ability to shelter themselves, or they have an animal that they don’t have the ability to take with them,” she said.

Zoran said it’s best for people to make a plan to also evacuate their animals, including having an animal go kit.

The two agencies meet again next week to review plans.