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Animals in emergencies

A person in charge of an animal is responsible for that animal and its welfare at all times, including times of emergency.

What you can do - Before an emergency

  • Register and microchip your dog or cat - this is a legal requirement and will assist in the identification and return of animals that stray or are impounded during an emergency

  • Consider microchipping other pets - this is not a legal requirement but can help

  • Consider animal life and veterinary insurance

  • Include pets and other animals in household/property emergency plans. Plan for a variety of scenarios. What if you have to leave in a hurry? What if you were separated?

  • Put together an animal evacuation kit including Council registration details, microchip number, vaccination history, medication, leads, cages and long-life food. Be as self-sufficient as possible if taking your pets with you.

What you can do - During an emergency

In an emergency, or when leaving the area as a precaution on high risk days, enact your household/property emergency plan.


  • Creating a 'safer' indoor environment in the home for pets in case you are away from the home when an emergency starts

  • Creating a 'low risk area' on your property for livestock and horses

  • Taking the animal to a friend or relative's house or, if appropriate, to work

  • Placing the animal in day care at a boarding facility

  • Agisting animals in a less fire or flood-prone area during higher emergency risk months

  • Taking dogs to a dog-friendly park or facility (take precautions in the heat, minimise time outdoors on hot days and during an extreme heat event)

  • As a last resort, attend an Emergency Relief Centre with your animal/s (only active during an emergency)

What you can do - After an emergency

If you are in a safe area away from an emergency, you may be unable to return to your home for a period of time. Traffic Management Points established by Victoria Police will be in place until public safety can be assured. Genuine concern about animals left behind can be reported to Council on 1300 368 333. Options for boarding can also be directed to Council.

Once home, assess the needs of your animals. Priority should be given to veterinary care, containment, feed and water.

More information

 Volunteering with emergency-affected animals

If you are interested in volunteering to support animal welfare activities in an emergency, it is a good idea to join a group prior to an emergency occurring. Volunteers can be coordinated much faster and easier if they are part of an existing group.

There are a number of existing networks that invite volunteers to work with animals including:


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