Brashinger: Local kennel club wants to help save pets during a disaster
By Ginger Brashinger Citizen Journalistemail@example.com May 31, 2012 3:08PM
Nick Janowski (from left), event co-chair; Dr. Lee Cera and Cathy Abele, event co-chair, give out free “starter kit emergency bags” of food at the Stone City Kennel Club. | Supplied Photo
Updated: July 6, 2012 8:42AM
The Stone City Kennel Club in New Lenox wants to help Will County families save all of their loved ones during a disaster.
Dr. Lee Cera spearheaded a program for the public called “Pet Emergency Tips and Survival” that was hosted by the Stone City Kennel Club on May 12, National Animal Emergency Preparedness Day.
Cera said the club’s purpose is to educate people about saving their pets during emergency situations.
“It’s part of our community mission now,” Cera said.
Cathy Abele of Crest Hill and Nick Janowski of New Lenox, co-chairs of the daylong event, gave attendees several things to “chew on” at the club’s training facility at 13606 W. Laraway Road in New Lenox.
Local pet-related businesses, veterinarians, and service groups dispensed literature and freebies such as food, water and waste bags to get families started on an emergency kit for family pets.
Shelley Halach of the New Lenox Community Emergency Response Team conducted an instructive slide program all day.
Halach explained how Hurricane Katrina tragically showed that many people would rather die than be saved if they were not allowed to take their pets with them at the point of rescue.
As a result, Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act in 2006, requiring that pets be evacuated with owners to prevent similar tragedies from occurring.
Her program included several common-sense tips for pet (and family) evacuation and provided several sources for use well ahead of a disaster.
Several tips stressed by Halach, however, were not the obvious food and water items. For example, she said having a photo of yourself and/or your family with your pet is important in case of separation. Sadly, many animals were not reunited with their original owners after Katrina because there was no way to identify them, she said.
Another great tip was to include “missing pet” posters in the emergency kit. Copies of veterinarian documents and adoption papers may also become important, as would pet medications and first-aid equipment.
Abele said the whole idea of the event was “to get people prepared as much as possible.”
Besides hosting the event, which the club is considering as an annual affair, the club prepared a booklet, “Community Pet Preparedness,” for attendees.
Abele said the kennel club is trying to get a FEMA grant in order to become a certified disaster pet facility.
“If a disaster occurs and there’s nowhere to go with your pets, the Stone City Kennel Club would like to be that place,” Abele said.
Abele said people often feel “this can’t happen to me” when disasters occur elsewhere.
“People are not always as concerned as they should be, until it’s too late,” Abele said. “They need to be aware if a disaster happens of what they can do to save their pets. That was our intention.”
For more information, go to www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov.
To learn more about Stone City Kennel Club, call (815) 485-5566 or go to www.stonecitykennelclub.sckc.us.