Keeping animals safe during an emergency

Posted on April 26, 2014 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Residents of Sonoma County are always at risk of natural disasters such as floods, fire, earthquake, and high winds. So are, reasoned Julie Atwood, their pets and livestock.

The Glen Ellen rancher says it’s crucial that owners have a safety plan, and survival kit, in place to ensure animal safety and survival in the event of an emergency. To that end, she organized the Farm & Ranch Readiness Day Emergency Preparedness Fair, on Sunday, May 4, to offer emergency preparedness education and demonstrations at Atwood Ranch in Glen Ellen. The event if free from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo: Julie Atwood, and Nancy King of Pets Lifeline

When disasters strike, animals as well as people need to be safely relocated. Californians value their pets and livestock, but are often unprepared for sudden emergencies. Local emergency plans are usually limited to evacuating people, and emergency shelters for humans deny admission to pets for health and safety concerns. Large animals require specialized transport and holding areas, which may be difficult or impossible to arrange during a sudden disaster.

No one wants to leave animals behind, but people who are unwilling to enter a shelter or refuse to evacuate during an emergency, risk arrest, putting themselves in danger and endangering the lives of rescue workers as well.

The fair will provide valuable information to farmers and ranchers, service animal organizations, animal rescue agencies, municipalities, community planners, veterinarians, pet and farm animal owners in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, and the North Bay.

horse-water-rescue-1Topics and demos include: Animal first aid; developing home and community disaster plans; relocation and safe handling of large animals (equine, cattle, as well as llamas, alpacas, pot bellied pigs); and small animal welfare in an emergency.

Participants include: UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; Sonoma County Office of Emergency Services; Sonoma County Horse Council; UCD agricultural extension; 4-H & FFA; CDF fire, local volunteer fire departments; Atwood Ranches; and local city/county emergency departments.

There will be no on-site parking, but shuttle service will run between the event and Dunbar School at 11700 Dunbar Road in Glen Ellen. Find out more at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>