Animal safety in flood, mud, and slides
HALTER (Horse and Livestock Team Emergency Response) offers the following information during this winter’s heavy rains.
Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Yolo, and Solano County Animal Control agencies have resources and skills to assist in a large animal emergency.
Sonoma County Public Safety Information, Emergency Management Division, posts storm and emergency related updates. They can be reached by phone at 565-1152.
Sonoma County Animal Services (SCAS) can be reached at 565-7100.
Kenwood, Glen Ellen, and Graton Fire all have Large Animal Rescue capabilities. Call 911 or SCAS to request assistance with a large animal emergency. But be aware that in a declared disaster, fire service may not be able to divert resources for non-human emergencies.
Here are some important reminders, and things you can do if emergency services cannot reach you:
- In an emergency, the fire service must save human lives first. Do not put yourself or rescuers in further danger.
- Mud is very dangerous for large animals. Vital functions can be impacted in a short time. Improper extraction methods can cause more damage than the entrapment.
- Do not get into mud or deep water to attempt a rescue. Call 911.
- Try loosening mud around the animal by pumping in water or air. Use caution with electrical cords, diesel fuel, etc. Do not pull on the animal’s head.
- Make sure the animal has a safe zone to jump or walk into. Give the animal the opportunity to self-rescue.
- Assign a “Safety Person” to keep eyes on everything.
- In flooded pastures/ranch areas, the greatest danger can be submerged power lines, fences and barbwire.
- Do not attempt to move animals if you cannot see fence posts.
- If you are subject to severe flooding, mark fence posts at intervals, using tape or secure flags.
- Mark gates if possible.
- Remember: water is a super conductor!
- Stay safe during storms. Evacuate ASAP and move animals when possible.
- Leave dry food in shelters when possible.
- Use extreme caution when returning.
- Watch for floating containers and spreading contaminants, carcasses, hazardous debris, power lines, etc.
- Call 911 and/or Animal Control for carcass removal assistance.
- Public health and safety are everyone’s first priority. Animal health affects ours, too.