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Karen B. London
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Emergency Shelter Doesn’t Accept Dogs
Local humane association offers free pet care
We're headed to the same place, right?
We're headed to the same place, right?

People in Arizona who have to evacuate on short notice because of the Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff are not able to bring their pets to the Red Cross shelter at Sinagua Middle School. Luckily, the Coconino Humane Association about a block away will care for pets whose guardians have evacuated. Dogs will be housed in kennel runs, be provided a blanket, food and water and have time in the yard. (Cats are also being accepted and provided with the care that they need.) The service is completely free.

When shelters do not accept pets, people may resist evacuation. Luckily, in this case, there is a contingency plan for families with four-legged members. Obviously, being able to remain together would be preferable, but at least families have an option other than refusing to evacuate or sleeping in their car.

Ideally, shelters would be equipped to care for people AND their pets in emergency situations. As a society, we have a long way to go in this area, but things are better than they were even a decade ago. Aid organizations have learned that failure to provide for pets prevents people from leaving a potential hazardous situation. (Let us never forget Hurricane Katrina!)

Have you ever been faced with an evacuation situation that required you to choose between doing what was safest for yourself and doing what you needed to do for your dog?

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by kathy | May 24 2014 |

this is a shame. I was hoping that all government officials had learnt from Katrina. when I lived in florida, at first, there were no shelters that excepted critters, but, thankfully that changed. people should not be forced to leave their animals behind. I would have taken my animals and lived in my car, if necessary. I would never leave my animals behind.

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