Special Considerations

Pets and Livestock

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Pets and Livestock 697

When disaster threatens, bring your pets inside immediately. Animals have instincts about severe weather and impending disaster and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can keep them from running away.

Make a plan for what to do with your pets if you have to evacuate your home. Josephine and Jackson County may offer companion animal sheltering for persons who are staying in a Red Cross shelter. All shelters are volunteer based and may not be able to open depending on the type of disaster. Have an alternate plan for your pets and livestock. If you have livestock, arrange for someone across the county toboard them, and you theirs, if the event only affects one area.

If you must leave your large animals, never open gates and let them loose. Animals enter the roadway and block emergency vehicles and evacuation routes.

Locate and prearrange an evacuation site for your family and animals that is outside your immediate area. Ideally, this will be a friend/relative or a pet-friendly hotel willing to let your family and animals stay in theevent of a disaster. Other possible animal housing options include veterinary hospitals, boarding kennels and animal shelters.

Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and pocket pets (mice, hamsters, etc.) all need to have plans for transporting and housing in a secure travel cage or carrier, with appropriate food, water, current veterinary records and photos for identification or reunification if they are being taken to a shelter.

If you are not home, pre-designate a willing neighbor or nearby friend to tend to your animals in the event of a disaster. They should have a key to your home, be familiar with your animals, know your evacuation procedures and where your evacuation supplies are kept. Keep leashes near the door making it easier for rescuers.

TIP: lf you are evacuating, crate or collar and leash your pet before opening your door. When animals are scared, they will often behave unpredictably and may run if not crated or harnessed.


It is especially important for livestock owners to be prepared and practice their plans.

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a Level 1 notice, evacuate livestock at a Level 2
  • Create a list of emergency telephone numbers to include veterinarian, state veterinarian, trailering resources and local volunteers
  • Identify evacuation locations with water and power resources
  • Make sure every animal has durable, visible identification
  • Take food and other supplies for their care
  • Take vaccination and feeding schedule in addition to ownership information

TIP: Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm!

After A Disaster

In the first few days after a disaster, leash pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact; familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused or lost.

The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash or keep them in a secure, fenced area with shelter and water.

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