Officials discuss emergency plans for pets

At a meeting at the Agricenter Tuesday morning, officials discussed differing plans on what should be done with animals in the event of a major disaster in the Mid-South.

"Some of the most enduring images from Hurricane Katrina were the animals left behind, or in some cases the pet owners who risked their lives rather than leave their animals alone," said Phil Snyder, the head of Memphis Animal Services.  It's something Snyder doesn't want to see happen here.

"That may be the only thing they have left in the world if their home is destroyed, is their pet," he said.  Snyder's group, along with others including the Memphis Zoo and the Emergency Management Agency were at Tuesday's meeting to practice Shelby County's animal rescue plan.

"Everybody will have a role to take care of animals, and how do it in a safe manner," he said.
EMA leaders stressed the most important part of their plan in the event of any disaster is to save human lives. But they also point out humans will risk their own lives if they think their pet is in danger."

James Bell is one of those people.  "I certainly wood (risk my own life)," he said as he stood with his dog.  "They say dogs are a man's best friend, and this one certainly is, so I would.

That sentiment that has emergency agencies planning now to avoid future problems.