Release: Gov. Nixon participates in roundtable discussion on importance of pet sheltering capabilities in responding to disasters in Missouri



Oct. 26, 2016

During Safer, Stronger Missouri Week, Governor visits Humane Society of Missouri for briefing on its partnership with other response agencies during historic flooding in St. Louis Region 

ST. LOUIS – At the Humane Society of Missouri headquarters today, Gov. Jay Nixon took part in a roundtable briefing on Missouri’s expanding capabilities in rescuing and sheltering pets during emergencies like the historic flooding that affected the St. Louis region in December 2015 and January 2016.

“During the record flooding that swept through the St. Louis region in December and January, emergency responders and volunteers were not only working to rescue and shelter people whose homes were flooded, they were also working with the Humane Society and other organizations to see that pets were also protected and cared for,” Gov. Nixon said. “Coordination between the Humane Society, the Red Cross and emergency responder and managers is an important advancement that’s been made in our ability to respond to and recover from disasters in Missouri.”

In late December 2015, the Meramec River surpassed previous record flood levels near Eureka, Valley Park and Arnold. The Bourbeuse River also set a new flood record at Union. This led to flooding in areas that had never been affected by previous flooding. As emergency responders worked to rescue and evacuate hundreds of residents, they were also thinking about those people’s pets.

Emergency responders and volunteers rescued pets, and the Humane Society established pet drop off locations with two climate controlled trailers in the affected areas so evacuating residents without a place for their pets had easy access to assistance for their pets. The Humane Society then shuttled pets to its Macklind Avenue headquarters for extended periods in some cases as pet owners worked to find housing where they could accommodate their pets. The Humane Society also supplied pet food, kitty litter and other supplies to multi-agency resource centers that were set up to assist flood survivors. All the assistance was provided at no expense to pet owners.

In all in the St. Louis region, more than 80 dogs and cats were cared for during the winter flooding.

In 2006, following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when hundreds of pets were abandoned, President George W. Bush signed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS), which requires states seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance to include pets and service animals in their plans for evacuating residents in disaster areas.

Participants in today’s roundtable included Lane Roberts, director, Missouri Department of Public Safety; Mike Perkins, director, Animal Cruelty Task Force and Disaster Response Team, Humane Society of Missouri; Tina Davis, manager, Disaster Program,  American Red Cross of Eastern Missouri; Scott Barthelmass, firefighter and public information officer, Eureka Fire Protection District; and Detective Omar Ruiz, manager, City of Arnold Emergency Operations Center.