For some, the result of the tornado two weeks ago in Elmira was not only the destruction of property, but the loss of family pets. The Chemung County SPCA says there was a significant spike in lost animal calls after the storm. Our Bill Mich spoke with SPCA officials about ways to ensure you are ready to care for your pets in an emergency.
CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. -- Two weeks ago, Elmira's EF1 tornado caused downed branches, broken power lines and chaos on the roads in the city. But that's not all.
"Typically we get about three to six reports a week and that's on average. After the storm, we were getting upwards of like 18 calls about lost animals in the following days after the storm hit," said Katie Fuller, the SPCA PR and Marketing Coordinator.
It is hard to say whether all of the animals spotted roaming the streets were lost or strays, but regardless, Chemung County SPCA officials say that was a sizeable jump in the number of reports. And there are even a few kittens that remain in the shelter after being brought in after the storm. So to ensure something like this doesn't happen to your pets, it is best to be prepared.
"Think ahead for your pets too. Kind of have an emergency kit ready just in case you ever do have to evacuate your home. And we always advocate, never leave your pets behind. They can get out, they can get injured, they can get lost," said Fuller.
The emergency kit should include enough food for seven days for each pet, leashes for dogs, litter pans for cats, toys, medications and photo copies of any medical records you may need. And another tip, in case you and your pets are separated, is to ensure your animals are always identifiable.
"Make sure they have a physical copy of an ID, with their name, your phone number, any medical instructions they may need. You want to make sure they're wearing that at all times. And you also may want to look into some secondary forms of identification like a microchip," said Fuller.
And if your animal is lost, the first and best place to call is the local shelters in the area. There is a chance they've found the pet or can help you in the search process.