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Press Releases

Homeland Security and Animal Groups Encourage Americans to Include Their Pets When Preparing for Emergencies

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
For Immediate Release
May 31, 2006

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today announced a joint effort with the American Kennel Club (AKC), the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to encourage pet owners to prepare for emergencies. The Department’s Ready Campaign and these animal health and welfare organizations developed a new brochure that highlights the key steps pet owners should take to prepare themselves and their animals.

"Tragedies like Hurricane Katrina serve as a serious reminder that emergency preparedness is important for all members of households, including pets," said Homeland Security Under Secretary George Foresman. "We are pleased to partner with these important animal organizations to encourage Americans to take action to prepare for emergencies and consider the needs of their pets in that process."

The new brochure suggests making a pet emergency supply kit including food, water, medicines and medical records, collar with ID tag, a leash or harness, and a picture of the pet with its owner. It also recommends having an emergency plan and learning which shelters in their area or along their evacuation route will allow pets in the event of an emergency. In addition, the brochure urges pet owners to be informed and know about the types of emergencies that can happen where they live.

"It's important to consider your pets in your emergency plans," said animal expert and nationally syndicated radio host Warren Eckstein. "Pets rely on their owners for food, water, and shelter. Remembering your pets in your emergency plans can help minimize their stress and increase their odds of survival in an emergency."

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 63 percent of U.S. households or approximately 69.1 million homes have a pet. The likelihood that these Americans and their animals will survive an emergency depends largely on the individual emergency planning done today. Through its Ready Campaign, Homeland Security encourages all Americans to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the types of emergencies that can happen and their appropriate responses.

For a free copy of the new emergency preparedness for pet owners' brochure, or for more information about emergency preparedness for individuals, families and businesses, visit, or call 1-800-BE-READY.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security promotes individual emergency preparedness through the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps as part of a broader national effort conducted by the Department's Preparedness Directorate. Ready is a national public service advertising campaign produced by The Advertising Council in partnership with Homeland Security. The Ready Campaign is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Individuals interested in more information about family and business preparedness can visit or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive a "Get Ready Now" brochure. Citizen Corps, Homeland Security's grassroots effort, localizes preparedness messages and provides opportunities for citizens to get emergency response training; participate in community exercises; and volunteer to support local first responders. To learn more and to get involved, contact your nearest Citizen Corps Council by visiting

The American Kennel Club®, founded in 1884, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of purebred dogs.  The AKC® maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States, and along with its nearly 5,000 licensed and member clubs, educates the general public about responsible dog ownership. More than 18,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog trials. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Companion Animal Recovery and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit >

Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane organization established in the Western Hemisphere and today has one million supporters. The ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides national leadership in humane education, government affairs and public policy, shelter support, and animal poison control. The NYC headquarters houses a full-service animal hospital, animal behavior center, and adoption facility. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York's animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series Animal Precinct on Animal Planet. Visit for more information.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 73,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. AVMA members are dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine including its relationship to public health and agriculture. Visit the AVMA Web site at to learn more about veterinary medicine and animal care and to access up-to-date information on the association's issues, policies and activities.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization representing more than 9.5 million members and constituents. The non-profit organization is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research, equine protection, and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation, advocacy, and field work. The group is based in Washington and has numerous field representatives across the country. On the Web at