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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 20, 2017

Pets and Evacuation: An Ongoing Challenge in Disasters

  • Ashley K. Farmer EMAIL logo , Sarah E. DeYoung and Tricia Wachtendorf


Pet ownership may continue to be an impediment to evacuation and sheltering for disasters, despite the passage of the 2006 PETS Act. Many Americans consider pets to be a part of the family, and are hesitant to follow evacuate orders if they cannot bring household pets along. We present findings of qualitative data collected from residents in eastern North Carolina, an area that is susceptible to hurricane storm surge flooding, and other severe weather events. Additionally, analysis of hazard mitigation plans for the state of North Carolina and the four areas in which the data were collected reveal that the state level plan includes significant planning for pets, while the local hazard plans do not dedicate plans to address evacuation and sheltering of companion animals. Implications for future research include clear communication about pet friendly shelters, broader inclusion and protection of vulnerable animals that are tied to the human and environmental well-being, and updating local mitigation plans to include specific plans for including animals in evacuation.

Award Identifier / Grant number: 0826832

Award Identifier / Grant number: 1331269

Funding statement: National Science Foundation (Grant/Award Number: “0826832,” “1331269”).


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Published Online: 2017-06-20

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