Ga Dept of Agriculture


Suggested Animal Care Practices During Hurricane Irma

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Press Release - For Immediate Release
Monday, September 11, 2017
Office of Communications

Suggested Animal Care Practices During Hurricane Irma

Atlanta, GA. - With Hurricane Irma currently on track to significantly impact the entire state of Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for all 159 counties. The Department of Agriculture continues to work with state, federal and industry partners to support the safety and comfort of Georgia citizens, evacuees, and all livestock and companion animals.

"I am extremely proud of our dedicated personnel who have worked diligently before and now during the storm to fulfill our mission to protect consumers, promote agriculture and assist our customers," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said.  "Animal protection is a very significant portion of that mission and we appreciate all of our partners who have assisted us in this effort and encourage our animal owners to heed their advice."

To aid in the safety of livestock and companion animals during the storm, we encourage pet and livestock owners to consider the following recommendations from the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association:

Companion Animals

Bring your pets indoors - Domesticated animals are not equipped to handle the conditions created by a hurricane. Most commercial dog houses and other structures created to shelter animals outdoors cannot withstand hurricane and tropical storm force winds. Strong winds can contain debris that can harm your pet or damage gates or fencing, allowing your pet to escape.

Don't forget your pets - Flooding and downed trees can make roads impassable. Be sure to have plenty of food and fresh water for you and your pets. Fill bathtubs and sinks to ensure you have access to fresh water during power outages or other emergencies.

Take your pets with you - If you are forced to evacuate due to flooding or some other emergency take your pet with you.


Out to Pasture - Best management practices for livestock recommend letting animals out to pasture during a severe weather event. Keeping livestock indoors can create fear and spooked animals can harm themselves and others.

Build mounds - For areas that are prone to experience flood waters less than four feet deep, build mounds of soil so livestock can get elevated out of the water.

Block off dead-ends - Narrow passageways where cattle can get trapped should be block off. Trapped and scared animals can do serious damage to themselves and structures.

Secure your chemicals - Move pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, treated seeds and anything else that could get into the water and contaminate the water source.

Cut the electricity - Shut off the electricity from the main switch to avoid spooked cattle from potentially damaging electric fixtures which can result in fires or electrocutions.

For more information regarding  GDA's storm response efforts visit or find us on facebook at or follow us on twitter at


About the GDA The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is the voice of the state’s agriculture community. The department's mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce. For more information, visit