Animal Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness for Livestock and Large and Small Animals

Moving livestock cart in Napa
Newcastle firefighter rescuing family's pet
Ranger supporting lost dog during fire


Cal OES is dedicated to supporting local governments, tribal nations, and the public in supporting animal response efforts. We coordinate closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the lead agency for California Emergency Support Function (CA ESF-11), and the CDFA California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES) Unit. Animals and livestock are an important part of our society and must be considered in all phases of emergency management. This webpage serves as a hub for a variety of resources available that are related to animal preparedness and response; whether you own pets, a hobby farm, an equine facility, or are a commercial 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 multi-disciplinary and meets regularly to develop new or enhance existing resources related to large animals and livestock. 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.

California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES)

The CARES Unit resides within the Emergency Preparedness and Response Section of the Animal Health Branch in the Animal Health and Food Safety Services Division of CDFA. The CARES Unit provides assistance to the California Emergency Support Function 11 Food and Agriculture. To meet animal disaster related responsibilities, CDFA leverages the CARES Unit to coordinate State agency response in support of local government and with the assistance of volunteer organizations. CARES is structured in accordance with the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS).

For more information visit the CARES Website at

California Veterinary Emergency Team (CVET)

Legislation, passed in 2021, established the California Veterinary Emergency Team (CVET) through the University of California, Davis (UCD) Veterinary Medical School. This legislation creates a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CDFA, Cal OES, and UCD to coordinate the CVET program’s activities with disaster response practices and deployment of CVET resources. Components of the MOU include the development of:

  • Veterinary-specific operational scope.
  • A veterinary resource management system for coordination, training, ordering, and deployment.
  • A database for vetted and appropriately trained evacuation and care personnel.
  • Training and certification programs for government and private sector stakeholders, and volunteer organizations for the evacuation, care, shelter, and reunification of animals.

Cal OES, CDFA, and the UCD CVET are proactive and responsive to the mandates of the MOU. All three partners are committed to addressing identified gaps, improving established procedures, and creating a unified approach to animal response in disasters throughout California.


Livestock and Large Animal Preparedness

American Veterinary Medical Association

Large Animals and Livestock in Disasters

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Disaster Preparedness: Livestock Owners

The Humane Society

Disaster preparedness for farm animals

Ready for Wildfire (CAL FIRE)

Wildland Fire Safety for Your Livestock and Pets

University of California, Davis, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security

When Disaster Strikes, What Will You Do?

University of California, Davis, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security

Flooding and Livestock, Preparing, Responding, Recovering

United States Department of Agriculture

Do YOU Have a Plan for Your Livestock Should Disaster Strike?
Disaster Resource Center



Local Emergency Management

Resource Request Process

CDFA Resource Request Page: When local resources are reasonably exhausted, or fully committed and additional resources are required, resource requests will follow the SEMS through a central coordination point/central point of ordering, which is the Operational Area (OA) Emergency Operations Center (EOC). To assist the OA in allocating resources, CARES has developed a resource catalog with a variety of volunteer and other pertinent resources located in one tool.

Shelter Guidance

Shelter Forms


Carcass Management

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)

Foreign and Domestic Animal Diseases, Carcass Management

California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA)

Emergency Animal Disposal Guidance
Emergency Animal Disease Regulatory Guidance for Disposal and Decontamination (Cal EPA and CDFA)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Animal Disposal Following an Emergency – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

University of California Cooperative Extension

Livestock Carcass Management Fact Sheet

United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)

Agriculture and Carcass Disposal

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Carcass Management Dashboard


Danielle Chapman

Danielle Chapman

Emergency Services Coordinator

Office: (916) 845-8153