2003, VANCOUVER - Although the war in Iraq seems to be winding down, there are now rumblings about Syria and Iran, and the situation in Afghanistan is far from resolved. With global tension increasing daily due to terrorism and various other conflicts, it is vital for people to be prepared in case an emergency or disaster situation arises, according to The Humane Society of Canada (HSC). "That’s why we’ve prepared a special report which includes action plans and a comprehensive list of equipment that can protect your family and pets," says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director.


"It is simply unrealistic to depend solely on government agencies to try and help you and those you love in the event of a disaster. For example, we are learning a hard lesson from the current outbreak of SARS (Specific Acute Respiratory System), which demonstrates how easily the medical support system can be strained and even overwhelmed in the event of an unexpected emergency," says Michael O'Sullivan, The Humane Society of Canada's Executive Director.

O’Sullivan knows firsthand what to expect in disaster and war zones. When animals were at risk during the last Gulf War, O’Sullivan worked in Kuwait and Iraq to lend at helping hand. He has also worked in other war zones like Israel, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Colombia and Nicaragua.

"We have tried to provide a comprehensive summary of ideas, strategies and equipment lists. The idea is not to overwhelm people with information, but to inform and educate.

For example, in the case of the equipment lists, people will likely already have many of the items scattered in different places around their home. Making a checklist and organizing them so that they are altogether in one place may only take less than an hour," he says.

No one person or agency can help every animal suffering in a disaster. The Humane Society of Canada believes that the best answer is to assist local communities with planning, and when disaster strikes, provide whatever emergency assistance we can. By working with other agencies to educate members of the public, politicians and the media about the need and importance of advance planning, we can be prepared to handle emergency situations when and where they arise. However, every individual in every community needs to stand ready to do their part.

"Since most people regard their dog or cat as a part of their family, it is hardly surprising that experience has shown us time after time that people will not leave a disaster area unless there are plans in place to care for their animals. Helping animals is not only humane; it makes it easier for humane rescue workers to do their job. In times of disaster, rescue and relief groups are overwhelmed. That’s why we need to plan ahead for practical reasons and for peace of mind," says O’Sullivan.

The Humane Society of Canada has created a detailed Disaster Relief Checklist/Special Disaster Relief Kit that will help people put together a relief kit for their pets. We can also offer information pertaining to steps that can be taken to keep pets safe during disasters.

Three other items that the Humane Society of Canada offers to help protect pets are a Special Wallet Card, an Animal Emergency Alert Decal and an Animal First Aid Kit. All of these are available by contacting the Humane Society of Canada, toll free, at 1-800-641-KIND (5463) or by visiting The HSC Online Adventure Store.

The HSC Special Report: Protecting Your Family and Your Pets From A Terrorist Attack can be found on our website.

Our ongoing coverage about Animals and the War on Terror can also be found online.

All of the above information can also be found be calling our toll free number 1-800-641-KIND or by visiting our website at www.humanesociety.com.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.