Hurricane Preparedness and Response among Pet Care Providers Along the Gulf Coast: An Investigation of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike

November 2010 (VOL. 28, NO. 3)

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One hundred-fifteen pet care professionals (veterinarians, boarding kennels, groomers, etc.) from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas were surveyed following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike regarding their preparedness for and response to these hurricanes. Results indicate this group is similar to the public in some respects including reliance on television for weather information, and evacuation being related to 1) having a plan for evacuation, 2) being in an area ordered to evacuate, and 3) not requiring outside resources to accomplish the evacuation. Respondents’ decisions were uniquely complicated by their role as both residents and also caregivers of animals owned by other residents who also may need to evacuate. Finally, a large percentage of this group had emergency plans, which may have been influenced by state laws or their experiences with Hurricanes Katrina or Rita. Back-up plans are recommended when emergency plans rely on owners claiming animals prior to an evacuation.