WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is issuing guidance for residents in states who have livestock and pets that might be affected by Hurricane Sandy.
USDA is offering these tips to help residents protect the health of these animals in the event of power outages, flooding and other problems that could be associated with the storm.
Follow state or local officials for emergency information, such as your local Emergency Alert System television or radio stations, and fire, police and other local emergency response organizations.
Make sure barns and structures where livestock can be sheltered are in good repair. If more space is needed for your stock, make arrangements for the use of other sheltering facilities in close proximity to your facilities.
Calculate the feed and water requirements to maintain livestock and poultry during an emergency.
Make preparations for protecting feed and water supplies and providing emergency electrical power if necessary.
If possible, cover feed and forage stored outdoors with a tarp or plastic sheeting. Routinely cover open water supplies, such as troughs and stock tanks.
If you have not been ordered to evacuate, make sure you have enough pet food and water on hand to feed your pets during an emergency.
If you have been ordered to evacuate by state or local authorities, take your pets with you when you go. If you need assistance, such as persons relying on public transportation or with medical special needs, contact your emergency management agency for instructions.
To keep your pets safe during the evacuation, secure them with a collar/harness and leash, or in a pet carrier, to safely transport them. For everyone's safety, you may also wish to bring a muzzle if your pet doesn't react well in stressful situations.
An emergency pet shelter might be available near the human emergency shelter, check with your local emergency management agency to find the nearest emergency pet shelter to you. Do not stay behind with your pet if state or local officials order you to evacuate.
If a pet shelter is located near a human shelter, pet owners could be allowed to visit and care for their pets during designated times.
At nearby shelters, pet owners may be allowed to care for and walk their pets during designated times.
Pet owners should be prepared to provide the following information to pet shelter workers if possible: name; species and breed; sex; color; distinctive markings; age; microchip identification number; vaccination records; health conditions and required medication.
Other useful items to bring to a shelter are:
a clear and current photo of you with your pet
an extra collar, leash, and/or harness that fits
any medications and special diets for their pets
information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets
a pet carrier/kennel large enough for your pet to sleep in comfortably
More information about pet preparedness is available at:
Additional information and updates about USDA's hurricane relief efforts are posted at www.usda.gov/disaster. And information about the U.S. Government's response efforts is available atwww.ready.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).