VIER PFOTEN App nun für Iphone/Ipad und Android erhältlich

VIER PFOTEN App Download für


Why take care of animals affected by disasters?

Disasters, including floods, typhoons, earthquake, seem to be in the news all the time these days. Sometimes dramatic animal rescues are covered. On an emotional level people don’t want animals to suffer, so they love hearing those stories.


But how is the care of animals during disasters important in other ways? There are many positive impacts for humans when animals are taken care of in the wake of a disaster:

  • The lives of more humans and animals may be saved
  • Post-disaster public health may be improved
  • Improved public safety and security
  • Reduced risk for first responders
  • Greater community resilience
  • Maintenance of economic livelihoods
  • Valuable resources may be preserved

© FOUR PAWS | Rares Florea

Some practical reasons to care for animals in disasters

Not everyone loves animals, but everyone affected by a disaster can be negatively impacted when animals are not being cared for. Stray domestic animals and displaced wildlife can spread disease, cause traffic accidents, or injure people. Even normally gentle pets can become aggressive or frightened, causing injuries or damage. People who have allergies to or are afraid of animals can be unnecessarily exposed to animals when they are trying to cope with the aftermath of a disaster.


Animal owners may struggle when there are no resources to help them care for their animals. They may be reluctant to evacuate when their animals can’t go with them. They may return to dangerous areas to try to find their pets, or to feed and care for their livestock. In both cases they may put Civil Protection (CP) personnel in danger if they have to be rescued. They may put others who do not have animals at risk if CP staff does not have enough resources to rescue everyone.

Some psychological reasons to care for animals in disasters

Finding motivation when you have lost everything can be very difficult. Interacting with animals is one way in which people find reasons to get back on their feet. Anyone affected by a disaster can be saddened, angry, frightened and/or feel unable to recover from the incident. Having animals to care for gives people something to look forward to and can be a reason to keep going when a situation feels overwhelming.


Bonds can be very strong between pets and their people and between farmers and their livestock. Knowing where their animals are and that they are being cared for can help animal owners when they can’t be with them. Getting assistance with providing food, water and medical care after a disaster is a tremendous relief to animal owners. 

© FOUR PAWS | Mihai Vasile

Why FOUR PAWS Disaster Relief Unit is important

The FOUR PAWS Disaster Relief Unit helps communities prepare for and respond to disasters in many ways:


  • By helping individuals and communities make plans before disasters occur. Teaching community and animal owners how to prepare for disasters makes it more likely that people will not endanger themselves or others in caring for their animals. People learn:
    • How to create emergency kits for staying at home or evacuating 
    • What to do to keep animals safer should evacuation not be possible
    • How to find out where animals can be taken if evacuation is necessary


  • Working with local Civil Protection (CP) teams and government and international agencies to ensure there are provisions in place for animals in their disaster risk reduction plans and policies which in turn helps to:
    • Ensure greater compliance of animals owners with CP procedures
    • Reduce public health risks from unattended ill or injured animals
    • Build more resilient communities able to recover from disasters
    • By sending in response teams to help people and their animals cope in the wake of a disaster. These teams provide:
    • Direct animal rescue of a variety of species, including those that are domestic, exotic and wild
    • Providing emergency care and feeding to allow a community to begin to recover
    • Public health services such as medical care of animals to prevent disease
    • Support for CP response

FOUR PAWS is also working to achieve United Nations sustainable development goals through the protection of animals and with its special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).