ON BALANCE, PETS WORTH RISKING LIFE FOR
NICKY PARK, AUCKLAND
February 26, 2010
MORE than half of pet owners are willing to put their lives on the line for their four-legged friends, a study shows.
The New Zealand-based poll found that 58 per cent of people would return to a danger zone rather than allow their pets to perish.
Steve Glassey, a distance education student at Charles Sturt University in NSW, said 99 per cent of people considered their pets to be family members.
''They've got quite a strong bond,'' said Mr Glassey, a former officer for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Even if people were told to abandon their animals in a disaster, they were unlikely to do so, he said.
Mr. Glassey conducted the online poll after discovering that the lack of provision for pets in emergency shelters was one of the reasons that people were reluctant to evacuate their homes when hurricane Katrina tore through the United States in 2005.
Mr. Glassey found that about 80 per cent of the 92 people he polled in Wellington would be more likely to leave their homes if evacuation centers catered for furry friends.
''It comes down to core value,'' he said.
''[People are] seeing pets as more than just sentimental property, so they want to make sure that all their family is evacuated, not just select members.''
Mr. Glassey said pets included all ''companion animals'' - everything except livestock