ASPCA Survey Shows 83% of Pet Owners Are Impacted by Disasters, Fewer Than Half Have Preparedness Plans
New data released by the ASPCA from a nationally representative survey confirms that 83% of current pet owners reported living in a community threatened by natural disasters.
While 90% of pet owners said they would evacuate with their pet—only 46% have actual preparedness plans in place.
The survey, which took place in July 2021, underscores the importance of planning for pets ahead of disasters such as flooding, winter storms, tornadoes, and wildfires.
The ASPCA strongly urges pet owners, particularly during National Preparedness Month, to include their pets in all disaster plans, especially those involving potential evacuations.
“These alarming survey results demonstrate the vital need for effective preparedness tactics among pet owners, as well as local and national measures that protect vulnerable animals.”
Other findings from the survey:
More than 1 in 5 pet owners have evacuated their homes due to a disaster or emergency and nearly half left at least one pet behind when they evacuated.
32% of pet owners said they left behind at least one dog, 20% left behind at least one cat, and 8% at least one horse/equine.
Of those who left a pet behind, nearly 30% cited not having enough time when disaster struck, further emphasizing the need to prepare for emergencies in advance.
40% of pet-owning evacuees did not return to their homes for at least four days, and in some cases up to two weeks. Leaving pets behind can expose them to life-threatening hazards like the inability to escape floodwaters, fires, and high winds and leaves them without access to fresh food and water for unknown lengths of time.
84% of pet owners don’t have emergency pet-friendly housing secured, but 68% support government funding for emergency pet-friendly housing.
The ASPCA is working with lawmakers to increase access to co-sheltering opportunities, a housing approach that keeps people and pets together when they are displaced by natural or manmade disasters.
Share these pet-preparedness resources with your community:
- Travel Bag Download for Pet Evacuations
- Dog and Cat Safety Tip Sheets in Case of Disaster
- Disaster Planning Tips for Horse Owners and Rescues
Learn how the ASPCA assisted pets and people in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
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