Pet preparedness

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SPCA Kawerau Centre volunteer Carey Conn urges people to be prepared on behalf of their animals.

Would you be ready to leave your property at a moment’s notice with your animals in an emergency? The recent fires in Nelson have highlighted the need for people to be prepared.

A fire, earthquake, tsunami, flood, or volcanic eruption could trigger the need for an emergency evacuation at any time of the day or night.

If you are forced to evacuate your property, please take your animals with you if you are able to. Do not presume that you will be able to return and feed them over coming days.

Thousands of animals died after being left behind in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In many instances, people were not permitted by rescuers to take their animals with them. The law soon changed to include pets in emergency response plans.

If an emergency evacuation occurs, please take your animals with you if possible, as their lives may depend on it.

Making the effort now to prepare a get-away kit for your animals could make a huge difference and save valuable time in a critical situation. Spare pet food, a tin-opener, water, bowls, a lead, a collar, muzzle, plastic bags, blankets, medication, and a crate for each animal, labelled with your name and address would be ideal.

Vet and vaccination records, as well as microchip and registration details can also be helpful. Keep them in an easily accessible place for a quick get-away.

Make sure your pet’s microchip number is recorded with your district council and the New Zealand Companion Animal Register. It is also a great idea to have at least one clear photo of your pet, and one with you and your pet together.

If you own or care for livestock or large animals that cannot be evacuated immediately, having a plan in place to ensure that they are left with food, water, and shelter is crucial.

Also, knowing in advance which paddocks or areas on your property will be safest during a flood or if power lines come down, could save lives.

By Carey Conn

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