Livestock evacuation | Caldor Fire, 2021 | Photo courtesy of CBS News
Bear/North Complex Fire Animal Rescue, 2020 | Photo Courtesy of North Valley Animal Disaster Group
UC Davis VERT provides veterinary care to rescued horse during the Lightning Complex Fire, 2020 | Photo Courtesy of UC Davis
Cal OES works hand in hand with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the lead agency for ESF-11, to support local governments in their response to animals in disasters through various systems, partnerships, and resources. Animals and livestock are an integral part of our society, and must be considered in all phases in emergency management. This page exists as a one-stop-shop resource for the many tools related to animal preparedness and response whether you own pets, a hobby farm, or are an agricultural producer.
Animals in Disasters Working Group
California Department of Food and Agriculture and Cal OES co-lead a workgroup of identified stakeholders to address ongoing issues regarding animal evacuation, care, and shelter in disasters. The working group is a standing body that meets regularly and develops new or enhance existing resources such as policies, guidance, people, and equipment.
Goals of the Animals in Disasters Working Group:
- Identify, resolve, and provide statewide guidance on animal disaster issues for local governments.
- Continually reassess and identify critical issues that are animal-related for resolution.
COVID-19 Information – The California Department of Food and Agriculture has created the Disaster Care and Shelter Considerations for Livestock, Service, and Companion Animals in the COVID-19 Pandemic Environment, a document that provides a range of possible sheltering options for livestock and companion animals.
California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES)
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) in response to legislation signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 29, 2006 has been working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture in the development of the California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES). The California Emergency Services Act, Section 8608, includes direction on implementation and authorities of the CARES program.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Cal OES and CDFA was agreed upon and signed as required by the government code. The development of planning documents and a concept of operations continues as lessons learned from the 2007 Southern California Fires as well as more recent emergencies are studied and incorporated into the process.
Animals play an integral role in society. In many homes, pets are considered to be members of the family. Working animals provide valuable services to the community and production livestock contribute millions to the economy. It is no wonder then, that when disaster strikes, citizens are intensely concerned about their animals. Numerous studies have shown that people are reluctant to evacuate during a disaster without their animals. Images like the one of “Rodeo”, a Border Collie stranded on a roof in the 1997 Yuba floods, make a lasting impression and cause the community to ask, “What is being done for animals during disasters?” To answer, the State of California has created the CARES through the joint efforts of the Cal OES and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
California is home to nearly 19 million domestic animals. Polls conducted in 2012 estimate that California is home to 6.7 million dogs and 7.1 million cats. The California Department of Food and Agriculture reported in 2012 that there are over 5.5 million cattle in California, 570,000 sheep, 141,000 goats, 670,000 horses, just over 100,000 hogs, and millions of chickens in the Golden State. Approximately one out of every three households in California owns a dog or a cat.
CARES is an operational guidance to assist with all aspects of animal care and control in the event of a disaster or emergency. In addition, CARES provides resources for the public, for animal businesses, for shelters, and for emergency planners. CARES is structured in accordance with the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS).
For more information visit the CARES Website at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/AHFSS/Animal_Health/eprs/cares/
- CARES Legislation
- California Code – Section 8608-CARES
- CARES Steering Committee Charter
- MOU Between Cal OES and CDFA
- CARES for Animal Businesses Brochure
- CARES General Information Brochure
- CARES for Pet Owners Brochure
- CARES Fact Sheet
- Governors Press Release for CARES
- FEMA-Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101 Supplement
- Medical Reserve Corp – Veterinarian’s in a Reserve Corp
Animal and Livestock Preparedness
- Disaster Preparedness – The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
- Disaster preparedness for farm animals – The Humane Society
- Disaster Preparedness: Livestock Owners – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)
- Do YOU Have a Plan for Your Livestock Should Disaster Strike? – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Flooding and Livestock, Preparing, Responding, Recovering – University of California – Davis, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security
- Large Animals and Livestock in Disasters – The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
- Pet Safety in Emergencies – The Center For Disease Control (CDC)
- Pet Disaster Preparedness – The Humane Society
- Pet Disaster Preparedness – The American Red Cross (ARC)
- Prepare Your Pets for Disasters – Ready.Gov
- Developing a Local All Disaster Animal Evacuation and Sheltering Plan – Regional Institute for Community Policing, Springfield, Illinois, Institute of Government & Public Affairs, University of Illinois
- Emergency Animal Sheltering Best Practices – The National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP)
- Emergency Animal Sheltering during COVID-19 Guidance to Jurisdictions – The National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC)
- Pet and Animal Sheltering Capacity: Facility, Supply and Equipment Requirements – National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
- Shelter Animal Intake Form
- Shelter Animal Care Log
- Shelter Animal Care Supplies
- Shelter Animal Count Log
- Shelter Animal Food Sources
- Shelter Animal Transportation Resources
- Shelter Behavioral Log
- Shelter Job Assignment List
- Shelter Lost Pet Rescue Form
- Shelter MOU
- Shelter Medicine Log
- Shelter Position Responsibilities
- Shelter Rescue Release Form
- Shelter Resources and Contacts List
- Shelter Supply and Equipment List
- Shelter Volunteer Positions
- CDFA’s State of California Best Practices for Allowing Pets on Public Transit – This document outlines best practices and guidance for local government emergency management and public transit operators to initiate discussion to fully meet the intent of the law at the local government level.
- When Disaster Strikes, What Will You Do? – An article from the UC Davis Center for Equine Health that covers evacuation and preparedness for large animals.
- Animal Disposal Following an Emergency – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Emergency Animal Disposal Guidance – California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA)
- Emergency Animal Disease Regulatory Guidance for Disposal and Decontamination – Cal EPA & CDFA
- Livestock Carcass Management Fact Sheet – University of California Cooperative Extension
Emergency Services Coordinator
Office: (916) 845-8153