We all love our family pets and do our best to keep them happy and safe, but have you considered what you’ll do with your pets during a disaster?
Plan ahead by taking the following steps:
- Prepare an emergency plan for all animals in your care, e.g. where will your pets go in an emergency? Planning needs to also include animals temporarily in your care.
- Consider the individual needs of all pets and animals in your care.
- Consider how the animal may react to different emergency scenarios, e.g. lightning, thunderstorms, wind - will you be able to find them if they run with fright and hide?
- Ensure any animal in your care can be easily identified – preferable with two methods of identification; e.g. current registration tags, implanted microchip, or for birds a leg band.
- Include important telephone numbers in your emergency plan, including your veterinarian.
- If you have livestock, plan to move them into a safe area when warnings are issued.
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your pets are safe during a disaster event. If pets are likely to be at risk, every effort should be made to take them to a safer area in advance, whether it be with relatives, friends or at an animal boarding facility.
Leaving your pet at home alone may place your animal in danger. Please remember that evacuation centres may not be able to accept animals.
Remember - late evacuation can be very dangerous for both you and your animals.
When moving animals, be sure to:
- Use a secure pet carrier/cage, leash or harness to move any animals to safety. Animal behaviour can change before, during and after an emergency and such devices may be required to calm the animal down and to keep them from safe from harm.
- Ensure all vaccinations remain current as most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will require your pet's vaccination and medical records.
- Ensure your pet’s medical and feeding information, food, medicine and other supplies accompany them to their temporary home.
- Ensure all pets are properly identified; e.g. current registration tags plus an additional identification method, such as implanted microchip or, for birds a leg band. Remember – during times of disaster, telephones may not be available and it is important any registered method includes your current address.
- Have a current photograph. This may assist in easily identifying you as the legal owner.
After A Disaster
The behaviour of your pets may change after an emergency. Take care when releasing any animal as their environment may have been severely damaged and they may have become disoriented or frightened.
Follow these simple tips to help your pet adjust following a disaster:
- In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside, so they don’t take fright and run away.
- Always maintain close contact as familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost.
- Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behaviour closely.
- Snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area (e.g. through flooding) and can become a hazard to your pets.
- Downed power lines are also a hazard to your pets.
- Check fences – be sure they are intact.
- Check pastures and fences for sharp objects or debris that could injure livestock.
If your pet goes missing during a disaster event, contact Council to check if it has been impounded. It may also be a good idea to contact local veterinarians in the event that they have your pet or know of its whereabouts.
Remember, registering your pet with Council makes it easier for lost animals to be identified and reunited with their owners. It is important to ensure your address and contact details are current.
For more information on preparing your pets and animals for a disaster situation, visit the Emergency Management Queensland website.
You can also complete your own personalised pet emergency plan here.
Disposal of Deceased Animals
In the unfortunate event of deceased animals, they will need to be disposed of or buried in a safe manner. Please contact Council to speak with a Compliance Officer if you require an animal/s to be disposed of. The following points will be discussed prior to the disposal of an animal:
- Disposal site
- Accessing the site
- Costs associated with the disposal of animals, and payment of those costs.
- Collection of the deceased animal.
If you find stray livestock, please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 to identify the owner of the livestock and assist their safe return.
Wildlife may become disoriented or frightened following a disaster; if you find injured wildlife please contact one of the businesses listed below. Please take care when capturing wildlife.
Boobook Ecological Services: (07) 4622 2646
Maranoa Veterinary Surgery: (07) 4622 4477
Roma Veterinary Clinic: (07) 4622 1015