Animals need evacuation plan too

Published 8:18 am Monday, October 22, 2007

NATCHEZ — Though no major storms have made landfall on the Louisiana or Mississippi coasts this year, the official hurricane season lasts until Nov. 30, and pet and livestock owners should have an evacuation or emergency plan for their animals in place.

Though high winds can be a problem in this area, its geography can help diminish some emergency concerns, Adams County Extension Service Director David Carter said.

“One thing that helps us is that we’re not a bad flooding area,” he said.

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Livestock owners should make sure large trees or other falling hazards are not too close to animal housing facilities.

“One problem we have is people putting horses in their barns and trees falling on the barn and crushing the animal,” Carter said.

It is also important to know where water supplies are in case water pumps are put out of commission, he said.

“One easy thing to do is to put out a clean, empty trash can and let it fill up with rainwater,” he said.

The most important thing livestock owners can do is have an inclement weather plan ahead of time, Carter said.

“If you’re going to evacuate your livestock, know where you’re going to take them ahead of time,” he said. “When the storm is making landfall is too late to begin considering your options.”

The extension service is also willing to work with anyone who wants to implement an emergency or evacuation plan, Carter said.

For household pets, the Humane Society recommends taking several steps if a pet has be evacuated. They include:

4Make sure the animal has food and water for at least five days.

4Keep pet medications and medical records in watertight storage.

4Take the necessary supplies to clean up all pet waste.

4Make sure to have good leashes, harnesses and carriers to make sure pets can’t escape and are transported safely. Also consider bringing pet beds and toys to reduce stress if possible.

4Bring current photos and descriptions about the animals in case they are separated during the evacuation.