Hill’s Pet Nutrition announced today that it established a Disaster Relief Network through the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love TM program that will enable Hill’s to quickly deploy pet food resources in case of an emergency. The Network consists of nearly 100 participating shelters across the country that Hill’s can work with to distribute emergency food supplies to the pets who need it most.
“I saw firsthand the tremendous work that Hill’s does when they supported my shelter during the wildfires in Colorado last year,” said Jan McHugh-Smith, President and CEO of the Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs. “It was remarkable how fast they were able to respond and how committed they were to making sure we had enough food for our shelters, including the temporary shelters that we set up accommodate the influx of displaced animals.”
This formalized U.S.-wide network of shelters coordinates emergency pet food deliveries and is the first network of its kind. Leading up to National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 11, Hill’s is also helping educate pet owners on what they can do to keep their pets healthy and safe when disaster strikes.
“Hill’s has a long-standing history of helping pets in need by assisting communities during natural disasters – partnering with shelters, veterinary hospitals, pet care organizations and communities to ensure that pets and shelter animals are fed and cared for,” said Kostas Kontopanos, President of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. U.S. “The Hill’s Disaster Relief Network formalizes the work Hill’s has done with shelters throughout the country. Together, we can respond as quickly as possible when animals and their communities are impacted by disaster across the country. We are very proud of our strong relationships with shelters. When disasters happen, Hill’s is ready to respond with emergency food shipments within hours.”
Since 2002, Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love TM program has donated more than $240 million worth of Hill’s® Science Diet® brand foods to nearly 1,000 shelters nationwide and helped more than 7 million pets find new homes. Every day, the program helps feed more than 100,000 homeless pets across the country. Through the Disaster Relief Network, Hill’s will be able to increase the reach of its assistance to pets, pet owners and communities during natural disasters and emergencies.
Hill’s has a strong record of responding when emergency resources are needed during major natural disasters. Specifically, Hill’s assisted shelters during Hurricanes Sandy, Isaac and Katrina, the Waldo Canyon wildfire near Colorado Springs, the tornadoes in Joplin, MO, and the tsunami in Japan. Hill’s also joined forces with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation in 2010 to support more than 90 veterinary shelters and clinics along the Gulf Coast struggling to respond to a record number of pets in need, whose owners were unable to provide needed pet food and medical care in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill.
In support of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 11, Hill’s is also emphasizing the steps pet owners can take to prepare for disasters before they happen.
According to Dr. Dan Aja, Director of U.S. Professional and Veterinary Affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, it is essential to prepare before disaster strikes to ensure you know what to do and have the resources needed to care for your pet during an emergency. “Because owners have such strong bonds with their pets, we want to encourage pet parents to think about how their pets factor into their evacuation plans. Taking precautionary steps can help avoid delays in the event of an emergency,” said Dr. Aja.
Hill’s advises pet owners to take the following steps to prepare your pet for an emergency event, including evacuation:
· Ensure your pet can be identified by either a microchip or collar ID tag, with updated contact information.
· Prepare an emergency box of pet supplies that is readily accessible in the event of an evacuation. Emergency kits should include: first aid supplies and guide book; a 3-day supply of pet food in a waterproof container and bottled water; a safety harness and leash; waste clean-up supplies; medications and medical records; a contact list of veterinarian and pet care organizations; information on your pet’s feeding routine and any behavioral issues; comfort toys; and a blanket.
· Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include veterinarian’s contact information.
· Identify a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area – keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be able to shelter pets. Scout hotels/motels with pet friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and/or your pet.
· If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate if possible for transport and safe-keeping.
· Carry a good picture of your pet with you in the event of separation during evacuation. Learn where your pet likes to hide in your house because pets may hide if they are scared. Finding them quickly will help you evacuate faster.
Find out more about Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love TM Disaster Relief Network at Hill’s website. To request assistance during an emergency, shelters can contact Hill’s at DisasterRelief@hillspet.com.