Officials: Craft plan for animals ahead of disaster

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Wildfire season is upon us. While many people have emergency plans in place, officials warn animals are sometimes forgotten in the confusion.

Last year fires scorched thousands of acres across the state, threatening buildings and prompting evacuations.

Matt Pepper, the director of Bernalillo County Animal Care Services, says it’s important to prepare for disaster at your doorstep, and have a bag ready for your animals, whether they’re pets or livestock.

“Unfortunately, I’ve seen what happens when you’re not prepared,” Pepper told News 13. “Animals lose their lives needlessly. Have preparations made for yourself, and preparations made for your animals.”

Pepper recommends having a crate available for transport, food, and copies of important paperwork on hand. He also says it’s smart to make contacts who can pick up your animals if fire keeps you from coming home.

If necessary, Pepper says Animal Care Services is prepared to step in and help around the state. Last year, the department assisted in the Pecos wilderness.

The department received grant funding through the Office of Emergency Management to buy evacuation trailers, crates, food, bowls, gate panels for livestock pens and more.

Still, Pepper says it’s best to be prepared for the worst.

“Don’t think it can’t happen, because it can happen and it does happen,” Pepper said.

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