FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Roseann Trezza, Executive Director
November 12, 2009
Pet Deaths Serves as a Reminder
AHS Offers Fire Safety Tips for Pets
THE DEATHS OF 40 CATS AND three dogs in a Newark house fire last month serves as a reminder for pet owners to take steps to protect their companion animals from a similar tragedy.
On October 18, Associated Humane Societies ambulance was called to a house on Mt. Prospect Avenue that was destroyed by fire. What AHS staffers uncovered were 40 cats that had died from smoke inhalation and three caged dogs that were burned to death. Three other dogs survived and were returned to their owner.
“Such a tragedy…it almost seems unbelievable, yet family pets are frequent victims of house fires,” said Roseann Trezza, AHS Executive Director. “Safety-conscious homeowners do what they can to protect their homes and make emergency preparations, but oftentimes forget to give special consideration to their pets’ unique safety needs.”
It is estimated that about 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year. This time of year household fire hazards increase dramatically with heaters, candles, fireplaces and wood stoves and holiday lights. Statistics show that about 20 percent of all house fires start between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., when residents are sleeping.
Associated Humane Societies offers the following tips to keep your family and your pets safe:
• Install Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. It’s the singlemost important way to alert you and your loved ones of a hazardous condition. Place them on each level of your house. If you cannot afford one, contact your local fire department who will sometimes donate the devices.
• Pet rescue decals are a great idea on your home, front and back door, windows and other access points in your home. These decals alert firefighters and rescuers that pets are inside. A decal is especially important where there are several buildings, like condominiums, apartments or townhouses so firefighters know which living quarters contain pets. The Society has these decals available – only $1.50 for two. Please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to PET DECALS, c/o Society, 124 Evergreen Ave., Newark, NJ 07114. If you have multiple windows and front and back doors, get several decals!
• Keep burning candles out of the reach of pets and children and never leave burning candles unattended. A knocked over candle can ignite an entire house in a matter of moments.
• Check for loose wires and watch out for wire-chewers. Some curious cats, dogs and even rabbits will chew on electrical wires. Protect the wires or make them inaccessible.
• If you leave the house without your pets, keep them in areas or rooms that are near entrances where firefighters will find them.
• Keep collars and leashes where you can easily grab them if you need to evacuate your home.
• Make sure your dog or cat is wearing proper identification or is microchipped. In case he or she runs out the door your chances are much better of having your pet safely returned to you.