Helping Pets When Disaster Strikes
After a firestorm hit Dunalley in Tasmania, a temporary vet facility provided treatment to wildlife and domestic pets. Vets united to provide free services for affected animals whether those animals were owned, lost, stray or abandoned.
Participating vets provided emergency treatment and then organised onward transportation to vet clinics or animal shelters. Where the suffering of animals was too great, vets relieved the pain through humane euthanasia. Vet Dr Tering Davies said the coming together of veterinary clinics, animal shelters, governing authorities, organisations such as Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and Reptile Rescue and a whole bunch of animal lovers was a true representation of what animal welfare should be.
During the life of the temporary facility, vets, vet nurses and volunteers assisted dogs with burns to their feet, face and eyes, reptiles with burns to their backs and tails, numerous wallabies, echidnas with burnt spines and fire affected birds. A St John’s ambulance member provided early treatment to an injured 16 year old dog before vets arrived and heroic fire fighters extended themselves even further by taking time to bring injured and traumatised animals into the vet facility for treatment.
Many locals, despite their own trauma, were taking in misplaced pets until their real owners could be found. What would these vulnerable animals say, if they could? Thank you to all those who cared enough to act on their behalf. Thanks also to the compassionate leaders at temporary refuges who recognised pets are family and permitted misplaced persons and their beloved pets to bunk down together. The Rural Fire Service of NSW provide a useful fact sheet on fire safety for pets (www.rfs.nsw.gov.au).
A study led by University of Western Sydney’s School of Medicine is finding out how pet owners prepare for disasters so emergency services can improve communications regarding the responsibilities and actions of pet owners in times of natural disaster.To participate or find our more information visit the study’s online survey by clicking here
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