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Natural Disaster: Animal Preparation and Response

Natural disasters affect animals as much as they do their human counterparts. The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) works with local, state, federal, non-governmental, and sector partners to help plan for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters that affect livestock and companion and service animals.

For natural disaster specific information, visit the resources below.


2022 March Wildfires

Wildfires affect America's farms and ranches, damaging and destroying homes, barns, agriculture production facilities, and livestock. Animals may be displaced and need temporary sheltering, feeding, and care. They may also be injured or deceased and need veterinary attention or disposal. Please refer to the information below to learn more about animal identification, livestock indemnity, and carcass disposal. To keep up with the current fire danger situation reports, visit www.tfsweb.tamu.edu/currentsituation/.

Lost or Found Livestock

  • If cattle have strayed onto your property, you must report them to the sheriff's office in the county you are located in within five days of discovery to be eligible for reasonable payment for maintenance of or damages caused by the estray livestock. For more information regarding Texas' estray laws visit: Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 142.
  • If you have lost or found livestock, contact the sheriff's office in the county the animals are in or contact the area Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger.

Donations

  • Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Hay Hotline: TDA's hay hotline helps agricultural producers locate forage and hay supplies. If you need hay or would like to donate hay, visit https://www.texasagriculture.gov/Home/ProductionAgriculture/HayHotline or call 512-463-9360.
  • TDA STAR Fund: If you are interested in providing a monetary donation or applying for assistance click here.
  • Eastland Fire Complex Livestock Supply Point: To donate feed, hay or fencing supplies to this effort, contact Texas AgriLife Extension at: 979-314-8200 or 254-734-2252.

Wildfire Relief

  • USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can help landowners with wildfire recovery and restoration. The NRCS can provide land management advice, and in some cases, financial assistance, to install measures that reduce post-fire damage and aid in the rehabilitation process. To learn more, click here.
  • The USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following wildfires or other qualifying natural disasters. To learn more, click here.
  • For more details and questions contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA county office, visit www.offices.usda.gov.

Carcass Disposal

If you are affected by the wildfire, call the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) regional office that serves your county at 800-832-8224 or visit their website at www.tceq.texas.gov.

Wildfire Aftermath: Beef Cattle Health Considerations

Smoke inhalation, burns and thermal injury, exertion, stress, and injuries suffered during escape can all cause longer-term effects on cattle that have survived wildfires. Some of the body systems that can be affected include: Lungs, Feet, Teats, Bulls, and Eyes. While a great number of surviving cattle will not show any long-term effects of a wildfire, cattle producers should be away of the potential of problems down the road. To learn more, click here.


Winter Storms

Winter storms and cold weather can impact animal health as well as human health. Winter storms can be stressful to livestock. Wind chills and prolonged cold increases their need for shelter, food and water. Below please find resources that will help you prepare for winter storm events and guide you through the recovery process.


Hurricanes & Tropical Storms

Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause catastrophic damage along the coastline and for several hundred miles inland. Severe weather has the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and property, financial, and environment damage to local communities. Animals may be displaced and need temporary sheltering, housing feeding, and care. They may also be injured or diseased and need veterinary attention. Prepare now to protect your livestock and pets during severe weather.


Flooding

Tropical storms, hurricanes, and thunderstorms can cause flooding with little or no warning. Severe weather has the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and property, financial, and environment damage to local communities. Animals may be displaced and need temporary sheltering, housing feeding, and care. They may also be injured or diseased and need veterinary attention. Prepare now to protect your livestock and pets during flooding.


Tornadoes

Tornadoes can occur anywhere with little or no warning. Severe weather has the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and property, financial, and environment damage to local communities. Animals may be displaced and need temporary sheltering, housing feeding, and care. They may also be injured or diseased and need veterinary attention. Prepare now to protect your livestock and pets during severe weather.


Extreme Heat

The Texas summers can get hot and with proper preparation your animals can keep cool and hydrated during the summer months.