ENCINITAS (CNS) - San Diegans who own pets or livestock should include them in their fire evacuation plans, a Rancho Coastal Humane Society official said Monday.
Preparation in case of evacuation should include a special kit that includes enough pet food and water for one week, contact information, crates and carriers, any medication used by pets, "poop bags" for dogs and, for cats, a litter box and kitty litter, said John Van Zante of the RCHS.
Pets should also be microchipped in case they lose their collars and should be up-to-date on vaccines, he said. Owners should also have recent photographs of their animals.
Van Zante, who evacuated his property during the Witch Creek Fire five years ago, also suggested:
-- determining in advance which family member will evacuate each pet, who will get the evacuation kit and who will drive;
-- planning evacuation routes;
-- arranging with friends and family a place to keep the animals while they are away from home;
-- practicing evacuating with pets; and
-- having a sign prominently displayed in a door or window informing emergency personnel how many pets you have and what kind, and listing veterinarian contact information.
People able to take their animals with them should write "evacuated" over such a sign, he said.
Owners of livestock who are unable to evacuate their animals should, as a last resort, open gates to allow them to flee on their own, according to Van Zante. However, the owners should make sure they shut the gate behind them, or else livestock might return to pens that they know as a place where they are usually safe.
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