ENTURA COUNTY, California – Do you have a plan in the event of a major earthquake? Does it include your pets? In the wake of two significant quakes recently in Southern California, the Humane Society of Ventura County wants to remind all pet owners of the importance of having an earthquake plan – for the entire household including the pets. “Southern California is prone to all types of natural disasters and being prepared should be at the forefront for every resident,” said Greg Cooper, director of community outreach for the nonprofit HSVC. “But unlike weather-related disasters, an earthquake can strike without warning, so planning in advance is key.” There are a number of things pet owners can do in preparation and in the event of an earthquake. Here are some tips from the HSVC: · Microchips: Your pets should always have up-to-date ID tags on their collars, and they should also have embedded microchips. “Have your pet microchipped in advance in case they get separated during an emergency,” said Arlene MacSween, assistant director of the HSVC’s Ojai shelter. “Don’t forget to register the microchip and keep those records up to date for any changes in address or phone numbers.” · Go-bags: If you need to evacuate your home, having preassembled go-bags for every person and pet in the household is a must. Your pets’ go-bags should include food, water, poop bags and cat litter, spare leashes, and collars with ID tags. Also, have copies of vet records, pet medications and recent photos. And don’t forget pet treats and toys to help keep them comfortable during trying times. · Crates: Having portable crates for your pets can help keep them safe in a contained space. Store your pet crates in easy-to-reach places. · Pet sanctuary: In the event of an evacuation, you’ll want to know what hotels are pet-friendly; research hotels in advance, locally and regionally. Also, check with local animal shelters to see if they may provide sanctuary for your pets during the emergency. · Breathe: You help yourself and your pets by staying calm. “Animals get scared and nervous and may act differently during earthquakes,” said Tracy Vail, HSVC senior humane officer. “They can feed off of our emotions when we’re uneasy during a disaster.” Through the end of July, the Humane Society of Ventura County is offering reduced-cost microchips, portable crates and free ID tags. The HSVC also offers shelter whenever it’s needed for evacuated pets and livestock at no cost to the owners. The Ojai shelter is at 402 Bryant St. For more information about the resources and services offered by the HSVC, visit hsvc.org/disaster_preparedness or call 805-646-6505.