Officer Paul from Collier County’s Domestic Animal Services came out to discuss ways to prepare and deal with emergencies in requires to our horses. The following is a list of what he discussed and my personal notes, along w links to outside sources. This information is specific to our county and area of Golden Gate Estates, but can be applied anywhere, taking into account your own local situation.
HAVE A PLAN- WHERE WILL YOU GO, HOW TO GET THERE, WHAT YOU NEED
Establish local and out of area, out of state evacuation sites
1. Establish Phone Tree- have at least 3 people on your phone tree that can offer assistance w a trailer ride or a place to evacuate your horses. Take into account your location– have people in different areas set up as fires, flooding, or downed trees/power lines can make areas inaccessible.
2. Horse Identification-
Paperwork: Collier County requires proof of a negative Coggins test as well as Rabies shots. Have your paperwork current and with you. You can even laminate the Coggins to protect it during storms. This is a way to identify your horse and your ownership. You also need a current Coggins to legally transport your horse. Boarding facilities may also require horses have certain vaccines, check your local facilities to see what is required for them to accept your horse. f you have recently acquired a horse, have a copy of your bill of sale in your paperwork. Current close up photos of your horse can help too, especially to post on social media should your horse get loose
Physically mark your horse:
-ID cards for your breakaway halter
-ID bands that go on neck, or coronet
-Grease pencils can be used to write your number on your horses side ( as can spray paint but that washes off easier) or on the horses hooves
-main and/or tail braids
3. Evacuation Kit
– Paperwork mentioned above
-Feed for at least 5 days
-Any medications needed
-First Aid Kit
-Vet and/or Emergency Vet number
PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY
Here are some things you can do to prepare
-Keep fencing in good condition
-In case of hurricane, put away as much as you can that will be picked up by the wind and store in a secure location. Flying objects can seriously injure your horse.
-Dead or dying trees should be removed, branches trimmed, they can come down and injure a horse, damage a fence or in the case of fire, add to the problem. Down trees can also block access to trailers and vet vehicles that may need to access your property.
-Water – if you are out here on well water be aware that if you loose power you will loose access to water – portable generators or a simple hand pump added to your well will ensure that you have clean fresh water. Remember in the summer here water goes bad quickly, access to FRESH water is necessary.
LETTING YOUR HORSE GO
Here it is common to hear people talk of letting their horses “go” in case of a major hurricane coming in, with the thought that the horses are safer out of the barn, where they may be trapped. Ability to be in a large area can be beneficial without a hurricane proof barn, but they also can be punctured by flying objects, stepping on all sorts of things (boards with nails and are at risk of running out onto a street. Your best plan of attack if you feel your barn is not a safe structure is to have a large pasture, free of debris, with a solid fence. Remember that hurricanes often spawn tornadoes As always, make the best decision for your horse and your situation. In fire conditions, Never leave horses trapped in a barn. Ever.
LOST AND FOUND HORSES
– Call Sheriff’s AG Unit 239-252-9300 (if your horse is missing, call AG unit first!
– Domestic Animal Services 239-252-7387
-Golden Gate Estates Horse Owners FB page
-Lost Pets of Collier County FB Page
-Microchip company if chip is found
Think about – if you find a horse, it may be sick or have parasites, keep it at least 30 feet away from your horses. If you use your halter and lead line to catch an unknown horse, sanitize it before using it on your horse. Same for feed and water buckets
With hurricanes feed and hay supplies can be destroyed, both at your home, boarding facility and local stores. Supply chains can be disrupted throughout the state . You may consider storing feed and hay cubes inside your home or garage. Hay cubes are a substitute for hay, a complete forage. Hay pellets are not, and do not meet the horses need for fiber. Cubes are an easy way to stockpile for an emergency. In any evacuation situation, as horses are moved, people are often needing to buy more hay and feed as theirs has been left behind or destroyed, so local feed stores may run out of supplies. Its a good idea to have extra food even if you are not in the evacuation area. the same with vet supplies and medications, your vet is going to be busy and may run out of supplies, keep a supply medication that you might need.