Marshall County, W.Va. (WTRF) – Any pet owner will tell you—their dog or cat makes their home complete.
The wagging tail after coming home from a long day, curling up in your lap—the joy and loyalty they bring to our lives can’t be measured.
That’s why new figures from the ASPCA about owners in times of disaster are so astonishing.
Forty-seven percent say they’ve left behind at least one of their animals behind in an emergency.
The Marshall County Animal Shelter says part of the reason is we don’t face them that often here.
Because we live in an area where there aren’t many natural disasters, so most people aren’t prepared for different things that were to happen.Mandy O’Neil, Assistant Director, Marshall County Animal Shelter
The poor creatures who are left behind make their way to the shelters, which become quickly overwhelmed.
Hurricane Ida’s worst effects stayed down south, but the repercussions for animals reached all the way up here.
It fills up our kennels and then we hold strays for five days, and wait for an owner to claim them, so that’s taking up a kennel for those five days while we wait.Mandy O’Neil, Assistant Director, Marshall County Animal Shelter
So now the ASPCA is now sounding the alarm for owners to have what they need in case a quick escape is necessary.
Dogs or cats aren’t high maintenance—they really just need a supply of food and water, a way to transport them, and litter if you have a cat.
Have a cage, have blankets, have extra food, bowls, water, leashes, and make sure all of their vaccines are up to date and their collar has their name and phone number so we can reach you.Mandy O’Neil, Assistant Director, Marshall County Animal Shelter
But the results paint a dismal picture for plan-ahead pet care.
Almost 40 percent don’t even have identification for each pet—meaning chances of finding one again drop dramatically.
When you own animals, it’s just like having a child, you should always be prepared, always be prepared to take them with you in case something happens.Mandy O’Neil, Assistant Director, Marshall County Animal Shelter
They may have natural survival instincts—but your pets depend on you for all their basic necessities.
And it’s important to have those supplies on hand—so our canines and felines can continue to make our house a home.