PETA sees increase in abandoned pets amid hurricane season


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — As Elsa continues to make its way up the East Coast, one organization is warning those in its path to remember their pets as they make their plans.

Each hurricane season, thousands of dogs and other companion animals are left outside to fend for themselves when their owners evacuated.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say when they search an affected area after a storm, they always find dogs left tethered outside.

“They found dogs that had been left in crates, in houses that had completely flooded, so the dogs were up to their necks in water and had no way of escaping,” PETA Cruelty Investigations’ Rachel Bellis said.

“Dogs that had been left chained outside were swimming in circles, basically trying to tread water. All kinds of animals left behind,” she added. “Don’t leave them outside. Even if your area isn’t getting the worst of the storm, bring them inside.”

Georgia Animal Rescue and Defense and other local shelters tell WSAV NOW after a hurricane passes through, they never fail to see an increase in abandoned animals.

“Shelters all over the country are bursting at the seams with unwanted animals,” Bellis said.

PETA’s Animal Rescue Team advises including your pets in your evacuation plans, so when it’s time to leave, they won’t get left behind.

Especially because most vets, boarders, and animal shelters close for severe weather.

“A lot of the localities now allow people to bring their companion animals to emergency shelters,” Bellis said. “So check your county or your city website to see where that’s available. Motels, hotels also allow animals.”

And when you’re making your hurricane emergency kit, include dog food, water, a crate, their ID tag and vaccination records.

“They are part of our family, we have to think about them as well,” Bellis said. “Just remember that if it’s not safe for you and you have to evacuate, it’s not safe for your animal, bring them inside, take them with you.”

For more information on creating an evacuation plan that includes your pets, visit PETA’s website. CLICK HERE for steps to take if you find an abandoned animal after a storm.

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