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Scratch This: June is barking out all over with pet-safety resources

Hopefully, you have emergency preparedness items at the ready, but your pets need their own kits too. What you need to know.

Scratch This: June is barking out all over with pet-safety resources
Whiskey is safe from danger in the roomy carrier his human provided. Photo courtesy of SoCal Animal Response Team (SCART).

Summer activities are starting a week or so early as far as our pets go. June is National Pet Preparedness Month, and the city of Long Beach and our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services have educational resources, tips and tools to help us fit our pets into our plans if, dog forbid, disaster should strike.

“Pets are completely dependent on their owners and are cherished members of many families, so including them in our family emergency preparedness plans is important to ensuring the entire household is prepared,” Mayor Rex Richardson said in a press release. “During Pet Preparedness Month, we encourage residents to gather the essential pet supplies they will need before a disaster happens and create an evacuation plan that includes your pet.”

Items for your cat’s kit bag and your pup’s pack

Get a free disaster-preparedness kit when you adopt a new buddy from LBACS. That’s a win for everyone! Photo courtesy of Long Beach Animal Care Services.

You hopefully have disaster preparedness items at the ready — emergency food, heavy clothing, battery-powered radios, candles, purified water. Your pets need their own kits as well. The Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications suggests:

  • At least a seven-day supply of food and water
  • A photo of you with your pet that can help reunify you or prove ownership if you both become separated from each other
  • Any paperwork with registration information or ID numbers
  • Annually replacing old food and medication and updating photos and emergency contact information
  • Sanitation materials such as litter and litter box, paper towels, poop bags, plastic trash bags and a small hand shovel
  • Pet toys, treats or bedding to help reduce stress
  • A collar with an ID tag
  • A crate or pet carrier

SoCal Animal Response Team (SCART) is a nonprofit whose major mission is to assist with sheltering during disasters and to educate the public about responding to them. Their website includes an extensive resource page for people with pets — check it out.

LBACS is offering free disaster-preparedness kits to the first 100 people to adopt a pet from LBACS during June as part of their Adopt, Don’t Shop Campaign.

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Tips for safety during emergencies

“During a disaster, loud noise, flashing lights, strong smells and sudden changes in weather conditions can be especially stressful and confusing for pets” said Reggie Harrison, director of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications Department. “Keep your pet calm by bringing them inside and providing their favorite comfort items and familiar activities.”

The Department of Disaster Preparedness and LBACS offer these tips to keep your furry, feathery and scaly family members safe in a disaster or emergency (parenthetical comments mine):

  • Keep veterinarian information and vaccination records in a safe place. (If you keep them in a folder on your electronic device, print out copies.)
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Pet ID tags should contain your name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs. (Leave your address off.)
  • Microchip pets as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip, implanted under the skin in the shoulder area, can be read by a scanner at most animal shelters. (Even indoor pets can panic during an earthquake or if some fool sets off a firework. Collars can fall off, be removed, or become lost, and microchips are the best way to help ensure a safe return.)
  • Bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm, fireworks or other disasters. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home if frightened.
  • Lower a pet's anxiety with the use of pheromones. (These products are species-specific creations designed to lower anxiety in animals. They come in various forms, such as wipes, sprays and diffusers. Feliway is designed for cats, and there are several choices for dogs. A Rover.com article explains pheromone use and available describes products, including Thunder Shirts. The Department of Disaster Preparedness recommends that you try the products out on your pet before the actual stress-producing event occurs. A word about the products’ effectiveness: they’re safe to use, but they’re not magic potions or even guaranteed to work for all pets. Some people swear by them; others wonder why they spent the money. They also don’t zombify the animal — they’re concocted to be calming, but the animal may retain some nervousness.)

And yes, those fireworks. Blast them all to hell — no, don’t. Except for the large displays put on by the city, fireworks are illegal for individual use in Long Beach. A lot of people don’t care and set them off anyway, causing stress and anxiety to humans with PTSD and terror to many animals. Please don’t take your pet with you to the beach to enjoy the displays. They won’t. Every year, LBACS takes in a good number of pets, mostly dogs, who have become frightened and run off during fireworks explosions. The shelter’s dog kennels are almost beyond capacity now, so where do you put all the canine refugees without sending the present residents to an untimely demise?

A few years ago, Long Beach’s Live Love Animal Rescue unleashed a successful Foster the 4th program in which founder Emily Anne Peters rounded up humans to foster pets. They virtually emptied the kennels. People kept the dogs for a couple of weeks (and yes, some forever, and that’s the best part). LBACS is repeating Foster the 4th starting June 23 — more about this in a future Scratch This! Meanwhile, you can start the process of emptying kennels right now — see the Yours drooly section.

“One of our main priorities is to ensure that people and pets stay together, especially during times of crisis,” said Melanie Wagner, Long Beach Animal Care Services bureau manager. “Pets separated from their families can be devastating for everyone involved. It can happen at any time, but especially during firework season or from disorientation caused by a disaster. I encourage people to prepare their pets now and also familiarize themselves with the other pets in their community. Often, an animal's best chance of getting reunited is by the people in our own neighborhoods.”

Yours drooly

The first 100 adoptions at LBACS in June get a free pet emergency kit to help protect your new friend and any old friends you have at home. To adopt or foster from our shelter, email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov to speed the process, or call (562) 570-7387. Better yet, meet all the pets in person at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors). Visiting hours are Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Next month, Roxanne (ID#A702341) will have been at LBACS exactly a year. This is no kind of anniversary, especially since she’s had her second birthday here. Although her volunteer friends gave her as happy a day as possible, a shelter kennel is no place for a long stay. None of us can figure out why Roxanne’s still here — she’s such a good, good girl. She’s a perfect mid-energy pooch who loves long walks, playing with stuffie toys, and cuddling with people. That big smile reflects her personality—volunteers describe her as “a ray of sunshine waiting to brighten up your life. Roxanne needs out with a loving, forever family.


We’ll follow Roxanne with Roxie (#IDA714835). Roxie’s as sweet a little pittie mix as you can find. Staff and volunteers both love this girl. She’s a sweet pup, ready for play and then affection. She’s currently experiencing kennel stress, and she needs a family or a foster ASAP. She’s only 4 years old and deserves a good rest-of-life.


Some things just make you want to yowl and hiss. You cannot separate trauma from indignity in the situation of Sir (ID#A722001) and Ma’am (ID#A722000). These apparent siblings were found dumped on the street, all matted and confused and with an unhealthy degree of obesity. Sir weighs over 17 pounds, and Ma’am tips the scale at 25, which can lead to illness and a shortened life span. What’s worse, they’re both 14 years old! With a diet and a forever home, in no particular order, they can stretch those years out. Can you foster or adopt?

Volunteer Susan gives scritches to Sir, with love.

Tail-wagging and nose-booping things to do

LBACS and CAMP low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics

Our city shelter, Long Beach Animal Care Services, has teamed up with CAMP (Community Animal Medicine Project) to bring weekly affordable vaccine clinics to pet parents because every pet deserves to be happy and healthy. The clinics will offer vaccines and treatments such as Bordetella, anti-flea/tick, and rabies, which is a requirement for all dogs and cats four months or older as stated in Long Beach Municipal Code 6.12.110. The clinics also offer microchips, which are essential for identification if your pet should run off or become lost, particularly during the July 4 season. Clinics open to the first 60 pets, no appointment necessary. All are welcome, whether you’re within or outside of the shelter’s contract cities. Remember to have your dog on a strong leash and your cat in a carrier, and please bring your pet’s vaccine records. Access this link for dates, locations and times of clinics and other LBACS events; visit CAMP’s website for a full list of vaccines and wellness treatments offered at each clinic. This effort is part of LBACS’s Compassion Saves model to improve and enhance the quality of life for all pets in the community.

Clinics take place every Monday, second Friday, and fourth Friday of the month, 10 a.m.–3 p.m., at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach (no parking fee for shelter visitors). No clinics on Labor Day, Sept. 2. Additional clinics will take place at one of the city’s contract cities, Signal Hill, at the Signal Hill Public Library parking lot, 1800 E. Hill St., Signal Hill, on the following dates and times: Saturday, June 29, 8 am. to noon; Friday, July 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, August 17, 8 a.m. to noon.

Kitten Cuddle and book signing

Author (and adopter from Helen Sanders CatPAWS) Sallie Rodman will sign “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Me and My Cat,” a collection of touching and inspiring stories that celebrate the connection between humans and their feline friends. Rodman, who teaches writing at CSULB’s OLLI campus, is a contributing author and will donate all sales (donations) from the event to CatPAWS. Suggested minimum donation is $10. While you’re there, you can sample a little chicken soup for your own soul by cuddling CatPAWS adoptables Snickers, Skittles and Sweet Tart.

The event takes place Friday, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Seal Beach Sun office, 216 Main St., Seal Beach.

Learn to save neonatal kittens with the Bottle Baby Brigade

Come by for a session of Bottle Feeding and Kitten Care 101 — a special bottle-feeding and kitten-care class brought to you by The Bottle Baby Brigade, an emergency foster program developed by Long Beach Animal Care Services and The Little Lion Foundation. Learn how to turn orphaned newborn kittens into healthy, loving, playful, beautiful and sometimes annoying cats! Best Friends LA will give a special presentation on bottle feeding.

Bottle Feeding and Kitten Care 101 takes place Saturday, June 15, 4 p.m.–6 p.m., at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at the entrance to El Dorado Park. No parking fee for shelter visitors.

Father’s Day Pawty at Feline Good Social Club

Take your favorite cool cat daddio to a party at FGSC! One ticket will pay for two guests to chill at the hippest cat club anywhere! Sure, it’s not football, but watching two cats batting a toy back and forth is a keen substitute!

Feline Good Social Club is located at 301 Atlantic Ave. in Long Beach. Father’s Day Pawty tickets are $30, are available here, and are valid on Sunday, June 15 from 11 a.m.–2:50 p.m.

TNR Action, Education, and Awareness Group meeting

Do you do TNR (trap/spay-neuter-vaccinate-microchip-release of stray cats) with a passion but want to share resources with and get support from an equally engaged community? Are momcats having kittens in your neighborhood, and are dadcats yowling at them to make more? Are you on your last shred of yarn trying to figure out what you can do? Get some answers at this grassroots meeting, the first in Long Beach to focus on combining forces to humanely stop the birthing of unwanted kittens in the urban wild. Speakers will include rescues, experienced trappers, and Long Beach Animal Care Services staff members, in particular LBACS cat coordinator Lindsie Merrick.

The group meeting will take place Saturday, June 29, 2–4 pm at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at the entrance to El Dorado Park. No parking fee for shelter guests.

Need a low-cost veterinarian, information about trapping community cats, places to volunteer—anything pet-related? Follow this link for resources. Please add your own ideas in the Comments section.


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