Whether it's an unexpected emergency or a natural catastrophe that causes you to leave your home temporarily, all of us can benefit from having an emergency plan in place before the disaster strikes. And be sure the plan includes your pets, your livestock ! The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offers quite a few excellent tips for pet owners:
- If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND!
- Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet's collar.
- Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.
- Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records (including vaccinations), cat litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later.
- If it is impossible to take your pet with you to temporary shelter, contact friends, family, veterinarians, or boarding kennels to arrange for care.
- If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, confine your pet to a safe area inside, but NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Make every effort to place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are inside and where they are located, and provide a phone number where you can be reached and the number of your vet.
- Evacuate livestock whenever possible. Arrangements for evacuation, including routes and host sites, should be made in advance. Alternate routes should be mapped out in case the planned route is inaccessible.
- The evacuation sites should have or be able to readily obtain food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and facilities.
- Trucks, trailers, and other vehicles suitable for transporting livestock (appropriate for transporting each specific type of animal) should be available along with experienced handlers and drivers to transport them. Whenever possible, the animals should be accustomed to these vehicles in advance so they're less frightened and easier to move.
- If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to move the livestock to available shelter or turn them outside. This decision should be determined based on the type of disaster, and the soundness and location of the shelter (structure).