Ag Commissioner advises livestock owners to prepare for Debby

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain advised livestock owners Sunday to take care of their animals as Tropical Storm Debby threatens the Gulf coast.

Strain's office issued a press release with reminders to select a location to place animals that's least likely to flood, or plan on moving stock to safe areas.

Here is the press release in its entirety:

Strain advises animal owners to be prepared

With Tropical Storm Debby threatening the Gulf States, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain is reminding livestock owners that they need to be prepared to not only take care of themselves but also their animals.

"Properly caring for your livestock during a storm takes careful preparation and planning ahead of time," Strain said. "The state and local governments are here to assist but animal care begins at home."

For cattle and horse owners, a hurricane or storm plan should begin with selecting the place on their property that is least likely to flood where livestock can quickly and easily be moved when a hurricane or other severe weather threatens the area.

Some owners may choose to trailer their expensive or genetically superior breeding stock and bring the animals with them during an evacuation.

"If you're planning on moving livestock then it is imperative that you make arrangements ahead of time and know where you are going with those animals," Strain said. "You can't show up just anywhere with a trailer full of horses or cows."

It's important for livestock owners who plan to evacuate with a trailer of animals to leave as early as possible. During hurricane evacuations it is not unusual for routes to close to trailer and towing traffic.

"When hurricane evacuations usually occur, it is extremely hot outside. You don't want to be stuck on the interstate, just sitting there, with a trailer full of livestock." Strain said.

Strain said now is the time to make sure livestock trailers are in good condition and ready for an unexpected road trip. Check the tire pressure and the rubber for wear, test brake and running lights, and inspect the overall condition and functioning of the trailer.

Important items to take along during an evacuation include health records (especially proof of EIA testing for horses), food, special medications, and bridles or leads.

Proper identification for livestock that are evacuated  is crucial during a natural disaster.

Livestock owners who run into problems with their preparations can call their local Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) for assistance.

"Your local OEPs have a network of veterinarian and other trained professionals ready to help livestock and pet owners, Strain said.

For more information on emergency preparation for livestock, visit www.LDAF.la.gov and click on the Emergency Programs icon on the right hand side of the page.

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