Saturday, July 4, 2015

Animal Preparedness During A Disaster - LIVESTOCK

If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs on your property, be sure to include them in your disaster preparations.  The following information provided is aimed towards horses; however, many of the basic principles can be applied to other animals as well. 

All the animals should have some form of identification
  • Tattoos, brands, and microchips cannot be lost.  They can help you prove ownership if you are separated from your livestock. 
  • Keep photos that highlight identifying marks and copies of registration papers and ownership records with you at all times in a waterproof bag.  List each one of your animals and their species, breed, age, sex, color, and distinguishing characteristics.
  • In addition, provide a temporary ID on the animal that is easy to spot and includes a contact phone number with area code.  It will allow anyone to contact you.  Some options for temporary identification are:
    • use an animal livestock marking crayon, non-toxic, non-water soluble spray paint, or non-water-soluble markers to write on the animal’s side.  Use permanent marker to mark hooves and write your name, and phone number.
    • use clippers to shave the same information in its coat
    • attach a band or tag with the necessary information written in waterproof ink to either its halter or by braiding it into tail or mane. 
  • Be sure to post emergency contact numbers at your barn and/or on your pasture fence.

Ensure that whether you stay or go that there is adequate food and water available
  • Have enough feed and hay to last at least three (3) days.  7-10 days is best. 
  • Store food in dry, protected areas. 
  • Dehydration is a major cause of death for animals in any disaster.  For horses, calculate a minimum of 12 gallons per horse per day and again, store enough for a minimum of three (3) days.  If necessary, add chlorine bleach at two drops per quart of water to purify if necessary.

Prepare an emergency/ first aid kit
  • Non-nylon halters and leads (leather/cotton), Bandannas (to use as as blindfolds), flashlights with extra batteries, Duct tape, Knife (sharp, all-purpose) , heavy gloves, rope, shovel, wire cutters, extra buckets, extra blankets, towels (cloth and paper). 
  • First-aid supplies. Check with your veterinarian to find out what he/she recommends .If any animal is on long-term medication, keep at least a two (2) week supply available.  Possible items to include are:
    • Antibiotic ointment (for wounds)
    • Antibiotic eye ointment
    • Bandage scissors
    • Bandage tape
    • Betadine® (povidone-iodine) solution
    • Cotton bandage rolls
    • Elastic bandage rolls
    • Eye rinse (sterile)
    • Isopropyl alcohol
    • Saline solution (for rinsing wounds)
    • Thermometer (digital)
  • Keep copies of medical records including history of vaccinations with the kit.

Evacuate your animals whenever possible
  • Advance planning designates where they will go.  Do not wait until the last minute to start evacuating!
  • Create a list of friends, relatives, etc. who would be willing to board them.(make sure they have your contact numbers)  Familiarize yourself with organizations in the area that are prepared to rescue and shelter during a disaster.  Temporary housing might include:
    • boarding stables
    • veterinarians
    • fairgrounds.
    • Pastures
    • equestrian centers
    • livestock corrals
  • Map out alternate evacuation routes in advance. In addition, access roads may be blocked and you might have to meet at a central collection point that trailers can reach, therefore, plan alternative ways to get the animals off the property.  
  • Have sufficient vehicles and trailers available for transporting your animals or know where to obtain them quickly.  If you don’t have your own truck and trailer, make arrangements with local companies or neighbors before disaster strikes.
  • Train to load.  A panic situation is not the time to teach or learn this skill.  In emergencies, animals that load easily are evacuated first. Unfortunately those that do not are left behind. 

If evacuation is not possible

  • Livestock will be safer in a pasture than in a barn that could collapse or burn. 
  • Make sure that there is easy access to clean water and forage.  Do not rely on automatic watering systems. Power may be lost.  It may be days before you return.
  •  In the case of horses, if you leave the halter on to facilitate catching them later; be sure to use a breakaway style.  Other types can snag on branches, etc. and trap the horse.
  • If time permits, secure or remove all outdoor objects that could turn into dangerous flying debris.

As a final note, catastrophes affect both humans and animals.  Animals can become fearful and, as a result, difficult to control and highly unpredictable during a disaster.  Therefore, whether you own one small animal or a herd of large horses, your safety is paramount.  You cannot help them survive if you are injured.

Emergency Information

In the event that evacuations are ordered during an emergency:
Information for Tehama County will be on local radio stations KFBK 1530 (AM) and KTHU 100.7 (FM). 

For emergency services in Tehama County:
Do not call 9-1-1 for fire or evacuation information. Use it only for immediate threat emergencies
The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office (530) 529-7900
Cal Fire Tehama Glen Unit (530) 528-5199 ( or (
The Emergency Services Office (OES) (530) 529-0409
The California Highway Patrol (530) 527-2034 

Incident information can be found at:

Other resources:

KHSL Channel 12 and  KNVN Channel 24  (


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