West Berkshire Council

Pet Welfare During Emergencies

Looking after pets if you need to leave your home because of an emergency

West Berkshire Council holds the RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprint (CAWF) Gold Award for our work in supporting animals in evacuations.

The Community Animal Welfare Footprints, established in 2008, remains the only scheme in England and Wales that recognises the commitment and achievement of local authorities, contingency planners and housing providers in improving animal welfare.

It's important to make sure you have a contingency plan for the care of your pet, in case you need to be evacuated from your home.

Making arrangements for your pet

If you're evacuated in an emergency, it's up to you as an owner to make arrangements for your pets. The best way to make sure your pet stays safe is to agree with friends or family in advance that you will take in each other's pets in an emergency. Make sure that this pet sitter does not live in the immediate area, or they may be having to evacuate as well.

It's a good idea to put together a "pet emergency kit" in case you need to evacuate from your home. 
This should contain: 

  • carrier, litter tray and litter, poo bags
  • tinned or dried food, including bowls
  • a photograph of your pet for identification purposes - perhaps put a photograph in your purse or wallet now so it is ready when you need it
  • lead, collar and identity tag
  • any medication your pet needs

If you have advance warning that an evacuation is going to happen, try to place your pets somewhere safe such as a local cattery or boarding kennel - local animal charities may be able to help. If you're unable to get your pet to somewhere safe, get in touch and we'll try to help you find suitable accommodation for them.

Planning for an emergency isn't just a good idea for cats, dogs, and other indoor pets - don't forget to consider outside pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises as well.

Larger animals and livestock

It's very difficult to evacuate large animals with little notice, so having a plan is vital in case of an emergency.
Some things to keep in mind when creating a plan:

  • aim to evacuate animals as soon as possible to a safe place outside of the immediate area
  • arrange your evacuation route in advance and work out an alternative route just in case
  • set up safe transportation - make sure that you have available trucks, trailers, or other vehicles suitable for transporting farm animals
  • arrange to have experienced animal handlers and drivers to transport them
  • take your supplies with you
  • at an evacuation site you should have, or be able to readily obtain, food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and generators if necessary

Disease outbreaks

In an animal disease outbreak, controls are placed over the movement of certain livestock to reduce the spread of disease and to make sure we can trace the root of the outbreak. Therefore, if you are unable to move your livestock or outdoor pets ensure they are as far from danger as possible, and arrange for shelter and food to last them several days.

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