Risk factors for pet evacuation failure after a slow-onset disaster

Sebastian E. Heath, Alan M. Beck, Philip H Kass, Larry T. Glickman

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39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective - To determine risk factors for pet evacuation failure during a flood. Design - Cross-sectional survey. Sample Population - 203 pet-owning households in a flooded region. Procedures - Persons under evacuation notice because of a flood were interviewed by use of a random telephone survey. Results - 102 households evacuated with their pets, whereas 101 households evacuated without their pets. Low pet attachment and commitment scores were significantly associated with a greater chance of pet evacuation failure. Risk of pet evacuation failure and lower attachment and commitment scores were also associated with pet management practices prior to the disaster, such as dogs being kept outdoors most of the time or owners not having carriers for their cats. More than 90% of owners made housing arrangements for their pets without assistance. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Predictors of pet evacuation failure are usually present before a disaster strikes and are potentially modifiable. Mitigation of pet evacuation failure should focus on activities that reinforce responsible pet ownership and strengthen the human-animal bond, including socializing dogs, attending dog behavior training classes, transporting cats in nondisaster times, and seeking regular preventive veterinary care. Most pet owners are self-reliant in disasters, and this behavior should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1905-1910
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Volume218
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2001

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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