TAHC Urges Livestock and Pet Owners to Protect Their Animals Before Disaster Strikes

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Editor's Note: Good advice no matter where you live!

With the rain, flooding and tornadoes across our state, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) reminds Texans to take appropriate steps to prepare your livestock, poultry and pets before disaster strikes.

All animals are vulnerable to issues associated with torrential rains and floods. Such events can easily impact both animal and human health. Proper planning and preparedness are key in preventing or minimizing the loss of livestock and pets. Stay informed and protect your livestock and pets against potential severe weather threats.

Make plans for your livestock and pets in case you need to evacuate your home or ranch. Remember that disasters often displace animals left behind so it is imperative that you have a way to identify your animal(s). Ear tags, microchips, brands, contact information attached to halters/collars, and pictures of you with your animal are good ways to prove ownership after a disaster.

In addition to your personal disaster kit, put together supplies that may be needed for your livestock/pets.

A livestock/pet disaster kit may include:
* A waterproof container in which to store feed and equipment
* A one week supply of feed
* A one week supply of water
* Copies of veterinary records, breed registry and any paperwork proving ownership
* An emergency contact list
* First aid kit
* Detailed diet and medication instructions
* Maps of local area with possible evacuation routes

The TAHC is the State's lead agency for all animal issues during disasters. The TAHC coordinates planning and training activities with local jurisdictions, state and federal agencies, industry partners, and non-governmental organizations, to ensure the state's livestock and poultry industries, and companion, service and assistive animal owners are prepared.

In addition to planning activities, the TAHC assists local jurisdictions with response issues like conducting animal search and rescue operations, animal identification, damage assessments; addressing animal care, evacuation, and sheltering; and coordinating carcass disposal activities through partnerships with stakeholders like the veterinary community, other state agencies, and industry groups. The TAHC also offers specialized response capabilities like the Horseback Emergency Response Team.

For more information on how to protect your livestock when a disaster occurs, read the TAHC brochure, Protecting Livestock When Disaster Strikes at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/news/brochures/TAHCBrochure_EmergencyManagement.pdf.

For more information on how to protect your companion, service, and assistive animals please visit:
http://texasprepares.org/English/family_pets.shtml
http://www.prep4agthreats.org/
http://www.ready.gov/caring-animals