Your animals are your responsibility and it is up to you to plan and prepare for the safety and welfare of your pets, livestock and other farm animals 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 and location.
Include your animals in your household or farm emergency plans
Consider whether you will move your animals to a safer place on days of high risk or when a warning is issued. This will depend on whether you intend to stay or leave.
Check with your local council or other agencies 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.
Regardless of your plan, ensure that your animals are properly identified (eg name tag, microchip or brand) and that stock registers are current and kept in a safe place.
Include these phone numbers in your emergency plan:
- Your vet
- Local animal welfare agency
- Animal information and advisory services
- Help for injured or trapped native animals (eg wildlife ranger, animal rescue service etc)
On days of high risk during bushfire, flood severe storm or in cyclone season consider the following:
- If you plan to move 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
- If staying at home, or on the farm, or planning to return when a warning is issued, you may need to bring pets in early as they have instincts about dangerous conditions and may run away if afraid
- Keep them indoors and separated in a quiet room with small, or preferably, no windows (provide food and water, but do not try to comfort them as you may transfer your anxiety)
- If you are likely to be away from home or your farm while an emergency warning is current, you may need put your emergency plan into action and take precautions referred to in this brochure before you leave
Caring for livestock and other farm animals
Develop an emergency plan and consider the following:
- Check whether local arrangements cater for relocation of livestock
- Coordinate relocation of domestic animals and livestock with neighbours, friends or livestock associations as early as possible
- Fit gates on internal fences to avoid moving stock along public roads
- Mark gates and water locations on a map of your property. Have this map available in case someone has to move stock for you
- If an emergency warning is current or on days of high risk, consider moving stock into a safe area before leaving your property for any length of time
- In a bushfire, move animals to a closely grazed or ploughed paddock (preferably around the homestead) with drinking water, steel fencing and preferably shade. (Poultry etc can be placed in a temporary pen)
- In a flood, move animals to high ground with adequate natural feed. Additional feed may be required for stock stranded for extended periods
- In a severe storm (including hail) or a cyclone, place animals under solid cover if possible (eg sturdy barn/ shed or covered pen)
- In extreme circumstances, the best option may be to cut fences so that stock can escape danger (and be collected later)
It is your responsibility to address any injury or trauma of livestock as soon as you can access your animals and to provide clean water and food.
For animals in emergency situations affected by natural disasters contact:
- The Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) will assess the health and nutritional requirements of livestock after a natural disaster strikes. For more information visit www.agric.wa.gov.au or call 9368 3333
- RSPCA WA may provide support and relocation for lost and injured animals after natural disasters or more information visit www.rspcawa.asn.au or call 9209 9300
- To report injured wildlife call the Wildcare helpline on 9474 9055 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
*Extracts of this content have been produced by EMA in close consultation with the RSPCA, the Australian Veterinary Association and relevant State and Territory emergency management agencies through the National Community Awareness Advisory Group.