Emergencies - pet welfare

RSPCA Gold Contingency Planning Footprint 2013 logo

Bracknell Forest Council holds the RSPCA Gold Award for our work in supporting animals in evacuations. It is important to ensure you have a contingency plan for the care of your pet, in the case of an evacuation.

Making arrangements for your pet

If you are evacuated in an emergency you must make arrangements for your pets. The best way to ensure your pet is safe is to agree with friends or family in advance that you will take in each others pets should an emergency occur. Ensure that this pet sitter does not live in the immediate area.

Pet emergency kit

Prepare a pet emergency kit including:

  • carrier for each pet
  • litter tray and litter
  • tinned or dried food
  • bowls
  • a photograph of your pet for identification purposes - perhaps put a photograph in your purse now so it is ready when you need it
  • lead, collar and identity disk
  • any medication your pet needs
  • if you have advance warning of an evacuation (such as flooding), try to place your pets somewhere safe such as a local cattery or boarding kennels - local animal charities may be able to help

If you are unable to re-locate your pet, bring it with you to the Local Authority Rest Centre. If the evacuation is only for a few hours your pet will be able to remain with you, however if an overnight stay is required we will endeavour to help you find suitable accommodation for your pet with a boarding kennel or vet.

Don’t forget about outside pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises and so on.

Larger animals and livestock

It is very difficult to evacuate large animals with little notice so think in advance where you may be able to take your livestock in an emergency. For example you may be able to set up an arrangement whereby a neighbouring farm will temporarily house your animals.

There are some suggestions below which may help to ensure your livestock/outdoor pets are kept safe in an emergency:

  • evacuate animals as soon as possible
  • be ready to leave once the evacuation is ordered
  • arrange your evacuation route in advance
  • arrange for a place to house your animals
  • plan an alternative evacuation route
  • alternate routes should be mapped out in case the planned route becomes inaccessible
  • set up safe transportation. Make sure that you have available trucks, trailers, or other vehicles suitable for transporting farm animals
  • arrange to have experienced animal handlers and drivers to transport them
  • take your supplies with you
  • at an evacuation site you should have, or be able to readily obtain, food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and generators if necessary

Disease outbreaks

In an animal disease outbreak controls are placed over the movement of certain livestock to reduce the spread of disease and deliver traceability. Therefore, if you are unable to move your livestock/outdoor pets ensure they are as far from danger as possible, and have shelter and food to last them several days.

Further information

If you would like support or information about taking care of your pet in an evacuation, or you are writing a business continuity plan which includes animals, please contact us.

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