Steven S. Nicholson, Merrill, Thomas A. | 6/11/2005 2:00:07 AM
Don’t wait until a storm, flood or other disaster threatens to think about what you will do with pets or livestock, says LSU AgCenter veterinarian Dr. Steve Nicholson.
"The key is to make plans early, so you can put those plans into play the minute a potential disaster threatens," Nicholson says. "You don’t want to wait until the last minute, because your options will be even more limited then."
Options basically are to evacuate pets and livestock out of the danger zone or to try to provide as much protection for them as possible if they’re going to be left behind, according to Nicholson.
"No matter which option you’re going to take, you certainly want to have a way to identify your pets or livestock," the veterinarian says. "So make sure they are marked by collars, brands, tags or microchips.
"After all, fences, barns and even homes can be damaged in disasters, so your pets may escape from the place where you left them, and there are all sorts of similar possibilities when you take pets on the road with you."
Nicholson also offers this advice on plans and procedures for your pets:
–Depending on where you are going in an evacuation, you may or may not be able to take animals. Find out if your shelter allows pets. If it doesn’t, explore the possibility of making arrangements to board your pet during a flood.
–Evacuating livestock is a time-consuming and difficult process. Consider how much of your herd you may reasonably be able to move to a safer location and how long that may take.
–If you will have to leave your pets or livestock at home, think of how they will be protected from floodwater and how they will be fed during your absence. Remember, food and water also will be critical to their survival.
–In addition to other means of identification, take a picture of yourself and your pet together for future identification. Keep the picture in a safe place with your other important papers.
–Don’t forget there will be additional hazards for pets and livestock after a storm. Some plant materials blown down in a storm can be poisonous to animals.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture