Monday, November 25, 2013

Emergency Identification of Animals for Disaster Preparedness

Orpheus the lamb wears a collar, tag and harness.
Today's post is about identification of animals for disaster preparedness, inspired by the fantastically dedicated team at Pet Search

Most of our lives are generally boring. But now and then terrible, unexpected things happen...they freak us out and they freak animals out as well. But pets don't have mobile phones, they may not be familiar with the area outside of your property and they need all the help they can get to find their way back in the event of a disaster.

Orpehus again. Because he is gorgeous.
According to Pet Search, whilst microchips are very helpful in reuniting lost animals with their owners, we should not rely on them as not everyone who finds an animal has a microchip scanner. These machines are also not totally foolproof - the animal must be scanned thoroughly, the chip details must be updated on the database, and the person with the scanner needs access to the database. A microchip is not, as some people believe, a GPS device that allows us to track animals (although you can buy those).

If there are severe weather warnings, you live in a disaster prone area or disaster looms, consider the following tips.
  1. Put a collar on your pet - dogs, cats, ferrets, cattle and sheep can wear collars. Other animals such as goats, alpacas & horses can wear head collars. A head collar can also make it easier for someone to catch a frightened pet.
  2. Write your name and phone number on the collar in permanent marker.
  3. Write your phone number on your pet's body in permanent marker - you can do this with dogs, cats, horses, cattle, alpacas, chickens, rabbits, ferrets, snakes, turtles, rats, larger birds, ducks and other similar type pets.
  4. If the emergency is close and you cannot safely evacuate your pets, let them out of their enclosure. They will have a better chance of outrunning the danger rather than being trapped in it.
Little Orpheus again.
Remember that pets behave differently when they are scared. If your pet is missing when the emergency has passed call your local vet and any vet clinics in your area, contact the local councils and pounds, ring shelters in the region and contact Pet Search on 1300 309 004. 

It is also important to check all neighbouring homes in case your pet/s have taken shelter there. For more info about how pet detectives find missing pets, check out our interview with Lee from Pet Search.

If disaster strikes, the best thing to do is take your animals with you if at all possible. And if you find someone else's pet, give them a call or take the animal to the nearest vet or shelter. Let someone know!