New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joe Atchison III recently announced the redesigned website—nj.gov/agriculture/animalemergency—to discover and explore information about the state’s efforts to help animals in disaster through its animal emergency management program.
“This website is an important easy-to-use tool for anyone seeking animal emergency information before, during, and after a disaster,” Atchison said. “When an emergency involving animals occurs, we want the public to know a response plan is already in place. The website also features tips on how to care for animals in extreme temperatures, information for County Animal Response Teams and the State Animal Response Team, and announcements for upcoming events such as the Animal Emergency Working Group Symposium that takes place each spring.”
Another component of the website is a disaster assistance map that includes where to find pet-friendly hotels, animal shelters, fairgrounds, and other locations that may be activated as temporary homes for animals during emergencies such as weather-related events or forest fires. The map, developed in coordination with Rutgers University, allows for the search of these locations by county as well.
“In the event of an emergency where livestock or pets need to be temporarily relocated, we want people to have quick access to the options available on where they can take their animals,” NJDA Animal Health Division Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Amar Patil said. “We place an extremely high value on ensuring livestock and pets can have a safe refuge during what can be a very stressful time for their owners.”
The NJDA is the lead agency for Emergency Support Function 11 (ESF11) in the state emergency response plan and is responsible for all animals when disaster strikes. Planning to care for both livestock and pets in emergencies is an ongoing process involving state emergency responders and volunteers from throughout New Jersey who work to ensure people being evacuated from their homes can take their pets with them or otherwise provide safe shelter for them, and to ensure that farmers with livestock have plans to shelter large animals in place or at appropriate nearby facilities.