Alert: Evacuation for Hurricane Ike with Animals

Persons evacuating for Hurricane Ike are advised to call 2-1-1 for the latest information on available facilities open for emergency animal sheltering for livestock and pets.

"The 2-1-1 operators assist evacuees with other information, and operational animal shelters are another important piece of information the operators can provide evacuees," said Dr. Matt Cochran, emergency management veterinarian with the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. The TAHC is one of more than 30 agencies on Texas' Emergency Management Council for the Governors Division of Emergency Management.

For several years, staff members from the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory agency, have worked with livestock facility owners and managers to determine which sale barns, expo centers and show grounds can be used to shelter livestock during emergencies.

As there is no state agency responsible for companion animals, the Texas State Animal Resource Team (TXSART) works with animal care organizations to assist local communities to provide emergency shelters for pets.

The TAHC and Texas Agrilife extension agents have teamed up in many counties with local emergency management coordinators, veterinarians, ranchers, feed stores and local animal care groups to develop volunteer animal issue committees and develop response plans for sheltering or evacuation. These committees can provide an invaluable service and ease the distress of persons being evacuated. It's a way of neighbor helping neighbor. By planning ahead for "worst-case" scenarios, the committees are prepared for all aspects of animal care, including emergency shelter, triage and routine care, and carcass disposal.

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