Thursday, August 25, 2011

Did you feel it?

Um, the East Coast Earthquake of 2011, that is?  It happened around 2pm and had the region and much of the US east of the Mississippi, for that matter, asking, "What the heck is THAT?" first, thinking it was anything from a bomb blast to a big truck idling on a nearby street.  Then it had people realizing it was SOMETHING else -- an EARTHQUAKE?? -- and dashing out-of-doors.  It knocked over a few lawn chairs that went viral for posterity, rattled more than a few psyches, and caused early dismissal for the area schools and federal agencies.  By later that evening, most buildings had been found safe.

However, at least one tower apartment building in the Suitland area was condemned, making tenants homeless.  As an animal-lover, one thought I had was, what about the pets?  We don't know if the apartment was one of PG County's still numerous "NO PETS" sterile dwellings.  Still, we DO know that even in the face of such rules, people often do keep pets.  (They just don't let the landlord know it).

Next thought was, as we noticed some photos on County Executive Baker's FaceBook pages, of people in a temporary sheltering situation -- what about those pets?  Have they been housed along with the displaced owners?  It would be great, but it's not always the way that disaster response plans are made.  For some reason there is a sense that we need to isolate animals from their owners during times when the bond between them is probably of the MOST importance.

At all events, just a year ago, the Red Cross of the National Capital Region provided eight animal shelter trailers to the DC area animal sheltering groups -- the government impound facilities.  Were any of them deployed?  There are actually two trailers in the reasonable reach of Suitland.  One is at Andrews Air Force Base, the other is located in Hyattsville.  If those were in use, there are also six others in the region.  As far as we can tell, not a single trailer was deployed.  In fact, one correspondent told us that animal control responded and rounded up pets.  That, in the current climate of catch-and-kill, is not a good thing for anyone.

Were you displaced by the Virginia Earthquake?  Did you have to find shelter for yourself and pets?  What did you need to do?  Did you review your own disaster plan in light of the incident?  What will you do in the future to improve how you deal with an emergency?  Do you know if your community or family has made provisions for safeguarding your pets in emergencies?

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