Severe weather can create stress for pet owners. It’s during times of natural disaster, such as the impending storm heading toward New England, that pet and owner can be separated. Lexington officials are working to develop new protocols for emergency sheltering of animals. Officials with the Lexington Humane Society, the city’s Animal Care and Control group, and Emergency Management are working to develop the guidelines.
Humane Society Director Susan Malcolm says local animal welfare entities can house an additional 100 pets. In the event of a natural disaster, Malcolm says the national humane society could be called in… “If the number goes over that, they can actually be on the ground in Lexington in 48 hours. So, we just have to make sure we can survive this first 48 hours with the resources we have and then their experts with nationwide expertise can come in and help us from there,” said Malcolm. Proper shelter for humans during natural disasters can present a whole range of problems. Emergency Management Director Pat Dugger says a shelter for both pets and their owners is a concept being investigated… “They don’t want to leave their pet, even somewhere. They want to take it with them. So, if it can be an adjoining where the humans are sheltered, then the owners can go take care of them. It’s a win-win for the animals, the owner, for everybody,” said Dugger. During such a disaster, some pets may also be sheltered in kennels and ‘pet friendly’ hotels. Malcolm says Fayette County has some 75 thousand dogs and 85 thousand cats.