Helping Animals Affected By Bushfires

All of the team at RSPCA Victoria are deeply saddened by the devastation and destruction being seen across Australia. Our thoughts are with those that have been impacted by the extensive bushfires.

CLICK HERE if you need help caring for your pets due to the bushfires  

With conditions constantly changing, the following information has been shared in an effort to keep you updated on current action being taken, as well as to provide valuable advice in seeking support and offering care to animals affected by the bushfires.

I have been affected by the fires and need some urgent support.

RSPCA Victoria is offering support to animal owners and agencies needing assistance with animal care needs in the wake of the devastating bushfires.

We can assist with veterinary care, food, fodder, basic pet care supplies like collars and leads, and general assistance as needed.

We have set up a dedicated bushfire hotline where people can contact us for help by calling 03 9224 2222 and selecting option 8. Alternatively, we have an online form on our website that can be completed with any request for help, which can be accessed here.

If you have been impacted by the fires and need assistance with your pets, horses or hobby farms, please reach out

What action is RSPCA Victoria taking to help animals in the current Victorian bushfires?

The Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan has been activated. RSPCA Victoria is one of the agencies that forms part of the plan and provides support as directed by the lead Victoria Government agencies.

We have been working with Agriculture Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to coordinate a response. Actions so far include:

• On Thursday 9 January we have volunteer drivers helping evacuate and transport animals from fire-affected areas around Wangaratta (Carboor and Myrtleford). Over the past week we have been providing emergency boarding at our Wangaratta shelter for displaced pets from the north-east region.
• On Tuesday 7 January we deployed the RSPCA Victoria Mobile Animal Care Unit to Bairnsdale to help care for wildlife impacted by the bushfires.
• On Saturday 4 January RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectors and operations staff, together with staff from Greyhound Racing Victoria, supported the first evacuation of more than 1000 people and 120 animals from Mallacoota to Western Port on two Navy ships lead by the Australian Defence Force. We are on standby to support any further evacuations from Mallacoota.
• We have delivered pet supplies to bushfire emergency relief centres.
• We have reached out to councils in the affected areas to get an assessment on how we can best assist with welfare boarding of pets.
• In conjunction with Agriculture Victoria, we are making assessments of domestic animals which may have been left when people were evacuating fire-affected areas.
• On Friday 17 January RSPCA Victoria employees created over 300 animal care packages to provide to people in affected communities in Victoria. The packs included food, treats, toys, a bowl and Advocate treatment for dogs, cats and small animals, helping people to care for their pets if they have been displaced by the fires.  


In aid of the Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan, we continue to actively engage with emergency services to support the animals in the community in any way we can when it is safe to do so.

What can I do to help

Whilst we really appreciate the offer, at the moment we are unable to accept donated goods as the time our volunteers and staff would spend sorting through goods is more valuable helping our impacted communities in other ways. If you would like to offer your support, the best way to do that is by making a donation hereAll of the money raised will be directed to bushfire response initiatives.

For many farmers, the destruction of large areas of pasture by the fires means feeding their animals is a challenge. The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is leading the drive to provide fodder to affected farmers and is establishing depots where fodder can be delivered and collected. Those who want to donate fodder to help out should contact the VFF on 1300 882 833 or email fodder@vff.org.au

We may require the assistance of volunteers in a variety of roles, however we cannot confirm the exact details at this time. To offer your support as a volunteer, please send your details to
 volunteer@rspcavic.org.au. We will record your information and offered support and contact you should we require your assistance.

Conservation Volunteers Australia have opened a registration portal for people to register their support for ongoing recovery assistance.


 

I have been affected by the fires and need some urgent support.

RSPCA Victoria is offering support to animal owners and agencies needing assistance with animal care needs in the wake of the devastating bushfires.

We can assist with veterinary care, food, fodder, basic pet care supplies like collars and leads, and general assistance as needed.

We have set up a dedicated bushfire hotline where people can contact us for help by calling 03 9224 2222 and selecting option 8. Alternatively, we have an online form on our website that can be completed with any request for help, which can be accessed at https://rspcavic.org/services/emergency-assistance/bushfire-assistance-reques.

If you have been impacted by the fires and need assistance with your pets, horses or hobby farms, please reach out

What should I do if I find a stray/injured companion animal?

Please call either your local council to collect the animal, or (where possible) take it to a local veterinary clinic.

What preparations should I make for my pets in case of an emergency?

Click here to take a look at RSPCA’s Knowledge base where you can search for all kinds of information that will assist you in preparations for fires.  

How can I help others in bushfire prone areas to better prepare?

Check out our Pet Safety kit, a pocket-sized guide with information and tips. It also includes a wallet card for your pet's emergency contact information in case you are separated, a tag with your pet's details that you can clip to your keys and a window sticker to let others know there are pets in your home. To request your free Pet Safety Kit, please click here.

What should I do if I must leave my pets behind?

Pets should not be abandoned unless it is impossible to evacuate them. To avoid this situation, consider evacuating your pets before the danger arises. If you are forced to leave your pets behind, be sure to use the following advice;

1. Do not tether them as they will be unable to flee if danger is imminent
2. Provide food and water for at least one week and provide multiple sources of water.
3. Ensure pets are properly identified (e.g. a collar with an ID tag and microchip).
4. Leave a note on the front door or on your mailbox stating your mobile phone number, how many pets are located on the premises, their species, names and a photo.
5. Birds will require food dispensers that regulate the amount of food provided at any one time. Ideally these dispensers will be provided for all pets.

What if I have to leave my pets outside?

1. Ensure there is plenty of water available from a source that does not rely on power or above ground pipes.
2. In a bushfire, move pets to a closely grazed or ploughed paddock (preferably around the homestead) with drinking water, steel fencing and preferably shade (Poultry can be placed in a temporary pen).
3. Do not shut horses in stables or small fenced yards.
4. Do not place synthetic blankets on horses.

What can we do to help livestock that have been burnt by a fire?

Despite the best plans and preparation, sometimes horses, livestock and other animals are caught up in bushfires. Animals that have been burnt should be immediately assessed as to the extent of the burns and then, depending on the injuries, either treated or euthanased. ‘Euthanasia’ means humanely ending the life of an animal when it is in the interest of the animal’s welfare and using a technique that avoids further pain, suffering or distress. RSPCA Australia advocates that farm animals which have to be killed due to physical weakness or serious injury should be humanely and competently euthanased on site without delay.

NOTE: There is a belief that affected livestock cannot be euthanased until an insurance assessor has seen them. This is not the case and it is not standard practice Page 3 of 4 Victorian Bushfires FAQs – January 2020 for any insurer. Animals must be euthanased without delay to prevent further suffering.

Animal owners do not need to wait for Agriculture Victoria staff to visit to euthanise impacted livestock if they are confident they can do so humanely and safely. Click here for more information.

Who should I speak to about post-bushfire care for animals?

Your veterinarian should be your first port of call however all animals that are assessed and not euthanased in the emergency and delayed phases should be put in a ‘hospital’ paddock/yard where they can be regularly inspected and nursed.
For all animals, ensure:
1. They are on the softest, most level ground available, especially if their feet are burnt.
2. They are checked often to confirm they can move to water and can drink. Animals that are unable to drink must be euthanased.
3. They have ready access to existing – or makeshift – shade.
4. They are treated for worms, especially after rain.
5. Check all animals regularly for signs of deterioration, in particular check for flystrike on burnt areas and feet. Treat as necessary.
6. Affected sheep may benefit from long-acting antibiotics for secondary infections. Seek veterinary advice.

Pets can also be affected by fires, with smoke inhalation a common issue. If you have concerns your pets have been affected by smoke, seek advice from your local vet.



Place a clam shell pool in the shade and fill it with water so your dog can wade in the water to keep cool. If your pet's share your yard with children, remember to have all necessary precautions in place, including fencing, in order to keep children safe.

Place a clam shell pool in the shade and fill it with water so your dog can wade in the water to keep cool. If your pet's share your yard with children, remember to have all necessary precautions in place, including fencing, in order to keep children safe.

Place a clam shell pool in the shade and fill it with water so your dog can wade in the water to keep cool. If your pet's share your yard with children, remember to have all necessary precautions in place, including fencing, in order to keep children safe.

Place a clam shell pool in the shade and fill it with water so your dog can wade in the water to keep cool. If your pet's share your yard with children, remember to have all necessary precautions in place, including fencing, in order to keep children safe.

Place a clam shell pool in the shade and fill it with water so your dog can wade in the water to keep cool. If your pet's share your yard with children, remember to have all necessary precautions in place, including fencing, in order to keep children safe.
NEVER leave your pet in the car in warm weather. It takes only minutes for an animal to suffer an agonising death if left in a hot car. If you see an animal locked in a hot car, immediately phone police on 000Learn more here.