FW pet owners: Are you prepared for an emergency?

Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, and more recently Hurricane Gustav, have disrupted the lives of millions.

People have been forced to leave their homes, their belongings and their beloved pets behind. Thousands of animals now roam the streets looking for food and shelter. It is a sad story that pet owners everywhere understand.

Events like these have prompted local residents to contact the city to find out what they can do in such a situation. In response, Federal Way Emergency Management is offering a workshop for pet owners and what they need to know in an emergency.

“Over the last couple of months, I’ve been getting a lot requests for something like this,” Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Gross said.

The free workshop will address how pet owners can prepare for disasters. A representative from Seattle Humane Society will examine ways for people to care for pets in an emergency and what to expect from local and county emergency agencies.

Although rescue help and shelter is provided for disaster victims, most pets are refused, Gross said. In cases like these, many pet owners choose to stay with their pets, refusing to abandon them.

The city does not want to see that happen. Emergency Management is working with local organizations to provide options for disaster victims with pets.

Debbie Young was quick to register for the workshop. Seeing the footage of the thousands of pets in the hurricanes, Young can’t imagine having to leave her 10-year-old golden retriever, Hope, behind.

“I think it’s very sad,” Young said.

As a mother, she attended safety training events in the past and recalls some of the training included family pets. Young hopes this workshop will reinforce her skills and give her new information.

She plans to teach her new safety skills to her children, now grown and with pets of their own.

Contact Beth Elliott: belliott@ or (253) 925-5565.

If you go

What: Workshop for pet owners

Where: City Hall Council Chambers, 33325 8th Ave. S., Federal Way

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 23, 2008

Register in advance by calling Ray Gross at (253) 835-2712.

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