Horses found after a hurricane with no identification makes the job of reuniting animals and owners much more difficult. Below is a list of suggestions from hurricane veterans to help you ensure that your animal can be identified in the confusion that follows a hurricane. The list includes a variety of alternatives from which you can choose:
Take a picture of your horse with a family member in the photo as well. Then staple a copy of your coggins test to the picture, along with other information such as tattoos, microchip ID, special scars and any other permanent identification. Place all these items in a zip-lock bag, and keep them in a safe place where you can get to them after a hurricane.
Purchase fetlock ID bands and place them on both front feet before a hurricane hits.
Put a leather halter on your horse with a luggage tag attached showing the horse's address, phone number and owner's name and any medication information. Write any special needs on an index card; place this inside a small zip-lock bag, and wrap it around the side of the halter with tape.
Take a second luggage tag with the same information and braid it into the horse's tail hair.
Caution: Do NOT tie the tag around the tail; this would cut off circulation.
Neck ID bands with the same information can also be used. Check with your local tack store.
Using small animal clippers, body clip the same phone number your horse's neck.
A permanent method of identification is Freeze Branding. For further information on this option, check out: www.horseweb.com/kka
Do not put a copy of the horse's coggins test on the horse. Animal Rescue may not be the ones to find your horse. A coggins test is a passport out of state and, as we learned from Andrew, not everyone is honest.
One of the goals of Animal Rescue is to find loose horses and get them reunited with the owners as soon as possible. These suggestions will help tremendously. Remember, you cannot have too much identification with your horse.
Identify Your Pet
Keep animal vaccinations current and photographs, papers and other identifying documents in a safe and easily accessible location. Brand, tag, freeze marking, tattoo or implant your animals with a permanent Microchip I.D.
If You Must Leave Animals Behind
Post a highly visible sign (either on a window or a door) letting rescue workers know the breed and amount of animals which remain. Leave plenty of food and water in an adequate container that cannot be tipped over. Place extra food close to the animals so rescue workers may feed them daily. Do not tie the animals or leave them confined in an area that may be easily destroyed. Loose animals on roads or highways can be easily injured and interfere with emergency rescue vehicles, so the animals should be directed towards a safer area such as a pasture.
If Your Animal Becomes Lost
Immediately call or visit the nearest animals shelter or emergency command post. When deemed safe, return to your neighborhood to post and distribute lost animal posters, which include your name, address, phone number and a picture of the animal. Animals may stay hidden for weeks, so be patient and continue searching your area.
If You Find a Lost Animal
If you should find a lost animal, please notify the local animal shelter as soon as possible and be prepared to give a full description of the animal (i.e. color, breed, sex) and its location. Remember that sick and/or injured animals can become unpredictable from the stress of injury, and should be handled by a professional familiar with proper handling techniques.
Information for Livestock Owners
If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs on your property, be sure to prepare before a disaster.
Ensure all animals have some form of identification that will help facilitate their return.
Evacuate animals whenever possible. Arrangements for evacuation, including routes and host sites, should be made in advance. Alternate routes should be mapped out in case the planned route is inaccessible.
The evacuation sites should have or be able to readily obtain food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and facilities.
Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers.
Note: It is best to allow animals a chance to become accustomed to vehicular travel so they are less frightened and easier to move.
If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to move large animals to available shelter or turn them outside. This decision should be determined based on the type of disaster and the soundness and location of the shelter (structure).