Friday, August 26, 2011

A Q&A with Deb Lynn Foote

Besides a Peakwaggers Facebook fan, Deb Lynn Foote has been the director of the Animal Emergency Management Program of Colorado for the last two years. We were lucky to speak with her for a few minutes about animal evacuation and how dog owners can be more prepared.

What are some of the challenges to rescuing animals during a natural disaster?

"In both the evacuation and the sheltering you are dealing with animals that have an additional level of stress. They can be more challenging, more fearful and some can become more aggressive. You don't know anything about the animals you are dealing with...its very complex."

What was the worst disaster you've seen with regards to animal rescue?

"I didn't see it, but I would say that the most challenging one was after the Windsor tornado up in Weld County a couple years ago. That was really challenging because you were dealing with animals that were injured or were loose because their homes were destroyed. It made it really difficult for the rescuers, too, because the structures that they were dealing with were compromised."

What recommendations can you give dog owners so that they can ensure their pet's safety during a disaster?

"The biggest thing is preparedness, that they evacuate their dogs or they arrange for their neighbors to do it. Sometimes with wildfires, for example, evacuation notices come up quickly and people may not be at home and able to evacuate their dog. All of my neighbors know to grab mine if I am not at home. Hurricanes, on the contrary, are easier because you have plenty of notice. The key is to not leave them behind."

For more information on pet evacuation and ensuring the safety of your dog during a natural disaster, click here.

(Photo courtesy of Deb Lynn Foote)

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