Helping Animals Affected By Bushfires

The impacts of bushfires across the country have, and continue to be, catastrophic. Right now, RSPCA Victoria are on the ground assisting people and pets affected across the state.

If you or someone you know needs assistance due to bushfires, please get in touch with us. Whether you need support paying for basic supplies, shelter, water or vet care, we are here to help.

You can find information on the following below:

Our response plan

RSPCA Victoria is one of the agencies that forms part of the Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan. So far, we have provided support to both companion animals and wildlife impacted by the devastating fires.

We are now reaching out to fire-affected communities to provide people help caring for their pets, horses and animals on hobby farms. Let us know if you want us to come to your area.

In the meantime, this is how your generous donations have helped so far:

Evacuation support

RSPCA Victoria Inspectors and operations staff assisted with the evacuation of more than 1000 people and 120 animals from Mallacoota arriving in Melbourne on two Navy ships.

We were on site handing out new leads and offering safe transport for pets to relief centres.

Image: RSPCA Inspectors assisting people and pets from Mallacoota

Emergency boarding for pets

We opened emergency boarding to pets in need at our Wangaratta Animal Care Centre. During January we housed more than 110 animals while their families made arrangements and evacuations from their homes.

Our wonderful volunteers have assisted with animal transfers from the local relief centre to our shelter.



Images (L-R): Some cute little boarders, Volunteers Sue and Brian transferring animals to our Wangaratta shelter, Cats Monfizz, Bright Eyes and Cimmie being picked up after emergency boarding at our shelter

Helping wildlife in MAC

On Wednesday, 8 January RSPCA Victoria deployed our Mobile Animal Care (MAC) Unit to Bairnsdale, to help care for wildlife impacted by the bushfires.

Vets triaged and provided much-needed medical attention to alleviate suffering and help save some of our most vulnerable creatures from total devastation.





Images: Scenes from the RSPCA Victoria Mobile Animal Care (MAC) Unit in Bairnsdale

Bushfire hotline

Mid-January we opened our bushfire assistance hotline to aid people and their pets who were impacted by the fires. Assistance continues to be provided as the weeks roll through and fires continue to burn. Call 9224 2222 to speak to our team.



Image: Our dedicated bushfire support contact centre at RSCPA Burwood

Animal care packages

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. 

These will continue to be created and sent to communities as needs arise.

If you or someone you know needs assistance due to bushfires, please get in touch with us.

Images: RSPCA Victoria staff packing animal care packages

How you can help

Spread the word

The most important role you can play is to spread the word that RSPCA Victoria is here to help people and pets affected by bushfires, now and in the months and years to come.

If you or someone you know needs assistance, whether it be food, fodder, water, shelter or basic pet care items, get in touch today. 

Donate money

If you would like to make a donation to support the efforts of RSPCA Victoria in responding to the bushfires, you can donate to our Bushfire Appeal here.

We are preparing for long-term rescue and rehabilitation efforts. All money raised will be directed to bushfire response initiative.

Donate goods

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.

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.

Volunteer

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


Caring for animals during bushfires

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.

Should I be feeding wildlife affected by fires?

RSPCA Australia have comprehensive information about whether you should feed animals hwo have been impacted by bushfires.

What should I do with my pets in an emergency?

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.

How can I help livestock that has been burnt by fire?

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.

Post bushfire care for animals.

If you are concerned about your animals after a bushfire we encourage you to visit your local vet. However, all animals should 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.


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.