FEBRUARY 19, 2007 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE FEBRUARY 19, 2007 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE FEBRUARY 19, 2007 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE

TO: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
EQUESTRIAN COMMITTEE MEMBERS

FROM: ASSISTANT TO THE CITY MANAGER

DATE: FEBRUARY 19, 2007

SUBJECT: DISASTER PREPAREDNESS FOR PETS

RECOMMENDATION

Receive oral presentation and discuss potential next steps.

BACKGROUND

Last fall, two legislative bills were passed to require federal and state agencies to incorporate animal/pet care as part of emergency preparedness planning. HR 3858--Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 authorized the Director of FEMA to 1) study and develop plans to take into account the needs of individuals with pets and service animals prior to, during and following a major disaster or emergency, AND 2) provide financial and other assistance essential to rescue, care, shelter and related needs to individuals with household pets and service animals as a result of a major disaster.

AB 450 requires the incorporation of an existing program, CARES (California Animal Response Emergency System) into the State’s Standardized Emergency Management System. The CARES program was developed under the California Department of Food and Agriculture in 1997 to coordinate State agency response in assisting local government and volunteer organizations to address the needs of animals during disasters. A fact sheet on the CARES program is attached.

DISCUSSION

After the widely reported hardships of Hurricane Katrina victims attempting to seek life-saving assistance for themselves and their pets, the Emergency Preparedness Committee recognized the need to consider pet shelter, care and other related services as part of the overall emergency response and recovery planning efforts. Emergency Preparedness Committee member Shari Weiner arranged for Dr. Patty Boge with Area G Veterinary Disaster Team to present information before the Emergency Preparedness and Equestrian Committee members about services and the critical needs for pets during and after a man-made or natural disaster.

Members of the Emergency Preparedness and Equestrian Committees are asked to consider the information presented by Dr. Patty Boge.

As suggested by EPC Chair Richard Smith, supplemental information was gathered in the form of an informal survey of city staff to predict how many pets may be brought to the work after a disaster situation. Participation in the survey was voluntary. Of the 48 full time staff surveyed, 30 staff responded. The results are provided below.

Survey of City Staff with Pets

 24 of the 29 survey respondents have at least one pet
 17 pet owners (40%) would make alternative arrangements for petcare
 38 animals in alternative care
 7 pet owners (30%) would bring their pets to work
 9 animals brought to work

Based upon the survey responses, staff estimates a total of approximately 9 staff members may bring a total of 11 pets to work. Although no question was asked about the type of pets, staff expects the pets may include: turtles, fish, cats, dogs, horses, and other small domestic pets.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average number of pets per household and distribution of pets are estimated as follows:

Animals Percentage of Households w/Pets Estimated Number of RPV Households Number of Pets per Household Estimated Number of Pets City-wide
Dogs 31.6% 4,951 1.69 8,368
Cats 27.3% 4,277 2.19 9,368
Birds 4.6% 721 2.74 1,975
Horses 1.5 235 2.67 627
Total 20,338

The above estimates were calculated using 2000 US Census data; the total number of households in Rancho Palos Verdes is 15,669. Staff cannot verify the accuracy of these estimates. According to dog licensing records, there are nearly 3800 dogs licensed each year.

As a matter of background information, the City currently contracts with Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control Department for animal control related services. During and after a disaster/emergency incident, the City would contact animal control for needed assistance. Depending upon the nature and scope of the disaster, the County may initially establish temporary animal shelters in conjunction with the Red Cross or other agencies so that individuals may seek shelter and other assistance along with their pets. The animals may be relocated to the nearest animal shelters-public or private or other permanent facilities.

In 2005, the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control Equine Response Team in conjunction with County Fire, Sheriff and other agencies developed an Equine Evacuation Pre-Plan for the Palos Verdes Peninsula. This document is a confidential, internal resource that identifies equestrian facilities, emergency sheltering sites, transportation issues and other relevant resources for horses and other livestock.

FISCAL IMPACT

None associated with this report.

PREPARED BY

Gina Park
Assistant to the City Manager/Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

Attachments:
1. Area G Veterinary Disaster Team Organizational Biography
2. News article “Plan for Evacuating Pets is Mandated…FEMA Gets Authority to Finance Shelters”, September 21, 2006.
3. HSUS Press Release “California’s Animals to be Included in State Disaster Plans”, September 29, 2006.
4. Fact Sheet on CARES (California Animal Response Emergency System)