Yesterday, a bushfire in South Australia tore through the north-east of Adelaide and some parts of the Hills. Fortunately, no human lives have been lost at this time, but devastatingly, the fire destroyed a boarding kennel and cattery, killing many of the pets staying there most likely while the owners were on holiday. I can’t imagine how all those affected are feeling – and those who have lost their homes. Amazingly, about 45 dogs were rescued.
This made me think about evacuation procedures in natural disasters and a hypothetical that I’m sure would never be allowed. I imagine the logistics would be a nightmare – having to somehow move all the animals in, likely a short amount of time; finding new shelter/homes for each of them; maintaining records of where they’re all going; all while ensuring legal obligations are fulfilled. This seems even more impossible when considering how quickly natural disasters can develop.
In my hypothetical situation, where legalities can be ignored, would it be better to free all the animals/unlock all cages and runs before evacuating yourself and your family?
In my mind, this might give the animals at least a chance of leaving and escaping the natural disaster rather than being trapped where they are as it comes.
Recently, I came across this fascinating but sad topic on the link between animal abuse and domestic violence. While the everyday person will probably never be in a position to recognise this (I would think vets, doctors, friends, etc. have more opportunity), it might be good to bring some awareness to this issue. You never know what you might come across.
Some terrible stats:
See more stats and information at the American Humane Association.
On the vet side of things, a recently published study in Australia reported that there were 5 features of fractures that could be indicative of a non-accidental/abuse injury. These include fractures in multiple parts of the body, or at different stages of healing. Interestingly, these features correlate with fracture patterns seen in humans suffering the same ‘non-accidents’.
What We Can Do:
Encourage women’s shelters to add questions about pets and build kennels.
Encourage animal shelters, vets and rescue groups to establish foster care programs for the animal victims.