All Creatures Safe and Sound

The Social Landscape of Pets in Disasters

Sarah E. DeYoung and Ashley K. Farmer, with a Foreword by Leslie Irvine
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1975-0
Publication: Jun 21

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1974-3
Publication: Jun 21

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1976-7
Publication: Jun 21

224 pages
6 x 9
1 table, 10 halftones

Lessons from recent disasters on accounting for the safety of animals and humans alike

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).


Some of the most striking news stories from natural disasters are of animals tied to trees or cats swimming through murky flood waters. Although the issue of evacuating pets has gained more attention in recent disasters, there are still many failures throughout local and national systems of managing pets and accommodating animals in emergencies.

All Creatures Safe and Sound is a comprehensive study of what goes wrong in our disaster response that shows how people can better manage pets in emergencies—from the household level to the large-scale, national level. Authors Sarah DeYoung and Ashley Farmer offer practical disaster preparedness tips while they address the social complexities that affect disaster management and animal rescue. They track the developments in the management of pets since Hurricane Katrina, including an analysis of the 2006 PETS Act, which dictates that animals should be included in hazard and disaster planning. Other chapters focus on policies in place for sheltering and evacuation, coalitions for animal welfare and the prevention of animal cruelty, organizational coordination, decision-making, preparedness, the role of social media in animal rescue and response, and how privilege and power shape disaster experiences and outcomes.

Using data they collected from seven major recent American disasters, ranging from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Florence to the Camp, Tubbs, and Carr Fires in California and the Hawaii Lava Flow, the authors provide insights about the successes and failures of animal care. All Creatures Safe and Sound also outlines what still needs to change to best prepare for the safety and welfare of pets, livestock, and other companion animals in times of crisis.


The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was a turning point for the welfare of pets in disasters. To understand what has changed since then, Sarah DeYoung and Ashley Farmer conducted fieldwork at seven disaster sites in six states. They interviewed several dozen program coordinators who managed the animal rescue and sheltering efforts. They surveyed and interviewed more than three hundred evacuees. Their meticulous research and careful analysis reveal what has changed since 2005. Importantly, their analysis also addresses what remains to be done.
From the Foreword by Leslie Irvine

"All Creatures Safe and Sound should be required reading for emergency managers and policymakers engaged in disaster planning and relief efforts. DeYoung and Farmer eloquently describe the reality of companion animal welfare in disasters without agenda other than to ensure the safety of the non-human family members that reside in nearly 60% of households.... (T)he measures outlined in this volume— from mitigation through recovery—can help avert the very real tragedies that companion animals and their people have historically faced during disasters."
Symbolic Interaction

DeYoung and Farmer provide a thoughtful, engaging, and compassionate assessment of how humans and their animal companions are affected by natural disasters. All Creatures Safe and Sound makes a distinctive and invaluable contribution.
Richard York, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon

" DeYoung and Farmer have done an excellent job examining how rescue groups work—or don’t work—during disasters. The issues they discuss surrounding the evacuation of pets (and their people) during disasters are important for public health and welfare. The stories, but also their implications, are riveting and engaging, full of interesting or surprising ideas. All Creatures Safe and Sound should have a strong influence on disaster relief studies.”
Robert Mitchell, Professor of Animal Studies and Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University, and editor of Pretending and Imagination in Animals and Children

Table of Contents

Foreword by Leslie Irvine

1. Raining Cats and Dogs: Rumor Control and the PETS Act
2. Our Cats Are Our Keiki: Animal-Human Bonds during Disasters
3. Trunking in South Beach: The Darker Side of Pets and Animal Welfare in Disasters
4. #LostDog: Using Social Media for Reunification and Coalition Building
5. A Mile through Waist-Deep Water: Poverty, Privilege, and Pets in Disasters
6. The Orange Glow and Rising Waters: Split-Second Pet Evacuation Decisions during Disasters
7. Harvey to Florence: Group Coordination, Event Leveraging, and Key Organizational Strategies
8. Getting Ready: What Pet Owners Can Do to Be Prepared for a Disaster
Appendix: Methods


About the Author(s)

Sarah E. DeYoung is an Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware as a Core Faculty member for the Disaster Research Center and the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration.

Ashley K. Farmer is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University.