Remember your Pets
It is up to you to plan ahead and to prepare for the safety and welfare of your pets, livestock or other farm animals well before a natural hazard affects your home or farm. By acting early, you will avoid unnecessary danger and anxiety. Although individual needs will vary, the following advice is intended to help you decide the best plan for your circumstances.
Make a plan for your pets if you need to evacuate. Consider what you will do if you need to move your pets to a safe place before a potential disaster. This might be with relatives, friends or animal boarding facilities.
Consider whether you will move your pets and other animals to a safer place on days of high risk, or wait until a warning is issued. This will depend on whether you intend to stay or leave.
Check Council’s Emergency Dashboard for information about likely hazards, local emergency plans and what arrangements are in place regarding temporary animal shelters and yards in times of major emergencies or disasters.
Consider including a pet grab-and-go kit in your Emergency Kit – ensuring supplies for a minimum of three days.
Regardless of your plan, ensure that pets and animals are properly identified (e.g. name tag, microchip or brand) and that stock registers are current and kept in a safe place.
Evacuation shelters and animals
Pets are NOT permitted in public evacuation shelters.
Guide and disability dogs are excepted. These dogs will require proper identification and proof of vaccination.
List of contacts for your emergency plan
Collect contact details of people who may be able to help you with providing a safe place for your pet before, during and after a disaster in your emergency plan, including:
- Pet-friendly places like kennels, catteries and veterinarians.
- Friends and relatives who may be able to shelter your pet during and after the disaster.
On days of high risk
During flood, bushfire and severe storm seasons, consider the following:
- If moving animals to a safer place, do so early to avoid unnecessary risk to you and your animals. Remember that late evacuation can be very dangerous.
- You may need to bring pets in early if staying at home or on the farm, or planning to return when a warning is issued, as they have instincts about dangerous conditions and may run away if afraid.
If you are likely to be away from home or your farm while an emergency warning is current, you may need to put your emergency plan into action and take precautions referred to below before you leave.
Evacuating and taking your pet with you
Moving pets to a safer place
If your pets are likely to be at risk, every effort should be made to take them to a safer area in advance of the potential disaster event. Take your pets to relatives, friends or animal boarding facilities in safe areas.
Take essential pet supplies with you, including:
- a leash (and, if possible, a muzzle) or a carry-cage, bag or box to restrain your pet
- sufficient non-perishable pet food for several days and feed/water bowls
- toilet litter or old newspapers
- essential medications and first aid kit
- your pet’s medical history and vet contact details.
Evacuating and leaving your pets behind
If you are evacuating and absolutely unable to take your pets with you, consider the following:
- If possible, leave your pets indoors.
- If pets must be left outside, do not tie them up.
- Do not leave pets in vehicles.
- Provide adequate food and water in large heavy bowls that can’t be tipped over. (A slow-dripping tap can supply a constant source of water). In hot conditions, provide more than one bowl of water in case of spillage.
- Make sure all pets are properly identified.
- Tell your neighbours where you can be contacted, where your pets are and what their needs are.
- Leave a note on the front door for Emergency Services indicating what pets they may encounter on the property (how many, where and how you can be contacted).
After the disaster
Because surroundings will have changed following a disaster, animals can be disoriented, frightened or aggressive. Take care when releasing them and do so in a confined area to avoid their escape.
For missing animals, check Council’s Lost and Found Animals webpage or the community facebook group for your area (a recent photograph of your pets will help identify them).