Disaster Animal Rescue Coalition

When Hurricane Dorian came through The Bahamas in 2019 we had never experienced this magnitude of loss and destruction.  So many people were displaced and as a result pets were left abandoned.  So many people lost everything and they had no means of keeping and caring for their pets.  It was truly heartbreaking for everyone.

Baark! never expected to be involved in disaster relief work but due to the relationships we have built over the years people started reaching out to us to ask for help.  Help finding animals that got separated from them during the storm and help getting them and their pets OUT after the storm had passed through. 

Several organizations gathered a couple of days after Dorian had passed and at that point the formation of DAR (Dorian Animal Relief) began.  We connected with an international organization called IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) https://www.ifaw.org/international 

Within several days IFAW representatives were on the ground in Nassau and we all worked together to deal with the situation as it came.  It was incredibly stressful, but we all did our absolute best to help as many animals and their owners as possible.  

We learned a lot… 

With the dreadful experience of Dorian and its destruction we have learned how important it is to have plans in place prior to a disaster.  So we have formed the Disaster Animal Rescue Coalition (DARC).  

Who is DARC? 

Ministry of Agriculture

IFAW

Bahamas Veterinarian Association

Bahamas Humane Society

Baark!

Grand Bahama Humane Society

Abaco Shelter

We hope to add more animal welfare organizations to this list as DARC continues to evolve.

DARC Vision

A Bahamas where all domestic animals remain safe with their family before, during, and following a natural disaster.

DARC Mission

DARC members support animal guardians to include owners, authorities, and farmers, in their efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a natural disaster through planning and collaboration.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Be prepared. We never know what a disaster will bring, but the more you can be prepared with your animals the better. 

When making your own preparations and laying in supplies, please don’t forget your pets’ needs!

Pet Checklist

– 2 week supply of food and water – figure at least one quart of water per pet per day.

– Medication – if your pet is on any medication make sure you have at least a two week supply. 

– Preventatives – after a devastating storm supplies may be slow to reach. Have a month or two’s worth of heartworm/flea & tick preventatives on hand stored in a waterproof bag or container.

– Extra paper towels and disinfectant.

– Litter box and 2 week supply of litter for cats.

– Collars (not chain collars) with ID tags – (ID tags can even be home-made and should include your address and cell numbers – just make sure they’re waterproof. 

– Photos of your pet – if your pet becomes lost in a storm, a clear photo will be the best way to identify and reclaim him or her. Even better, have your pet micro chipped!

Hurricane or tropical storm approaching?

If a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching, the most important thing is not to leave your pets outside. If you are staying in your home, your pets need to be inside with you. 

An outside dog house or cage is not safe and chained/tethered dogs absolutely must not remain tied up during a storm. Worst case, if you will not bring your pets inside or you have to evacuate and cannot take them with you or find safe boarding for them, make sure they have soft collars with ID tags and let them loose. 

DURING A STORM

During the storm, do not let your pets outside! If there is a lull in the weather or the eye is passing over, use your best judgment in taking your dog outside ON A LEASH to relieve him or herself. (Do not let your cat out under any circumstances.) Do not count on your dog staying close if you simply let him or her out. Your fence may have been broken and no longer secure! The low barometric pressure during a hurricane is especially disturbing to animals and their instinct may be to flee. 

If you have a pet that is extra sensitive or afraid during bad weather, talk to your vet about having calming medications on hand if needed.

If your pets are not used to being inside, now is the time to get them used to it. Bring them in for short periods to get familiar with the room you will have them in. It would be wise to purchase your own crates well ahead of a storm if you are able. 

If you live in an evacuation area, and after Dorian, it’s clear that evacuation zones must expand; make arrangements well ahead of time for your pets. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: the Bahamas Humane Society will not board pets during a hurricane. Just as we shouldn’t wait until the last minute to make our own hurricane preparations, make sure you have a plan in place for your pets, too!

Over the years we have met awesome people around the world. One of our close supporters in Florida involved in disaster relief gave us permission to use these wonderful checklists. Please use so you are fully prepared for a storm: