Storm Eunice: RSPCA issues animal advice
RSPCA urges public to ensure safety of pets as Storm Eunice looms
The RSPCA has issued advice to animal owners in the event of flooding and strong winds as the UK braces for Storm Eunice to hit.
It comes in the wake of strong winds and heavy rainfall from Storm Dudley.
The Met Office has issued a red weather warning in the south west and south Wales tomorrow (Friday February 18) as forecasters predict strong winds of up to 90mph.
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An amber alert is in place across the rest of southern England, East Anglia, the Midlands and Wales, while a yellow weather warning for snow and wind is in place for the north and parts of Scotland.
RSPCA spokesperson Amy Ockelford said: “Storm Dudley hit parts of the UK hard earlier this week and now forecasters are predicting that Storm Eunice could be even stronger.
"We’re urging pet owners to keep an eye on the forecast where they live and to plan ahead to ensure the safety of their animals.”
A number of flood warnings and flood alerts are in force across the UK so pet owners have been advised to make a plan.
Amy added: “Be sure you have a plan so you know how to get your family, and your animals, out of danger should flooding affect you.
"Floodwater can rise rapidly so we would urge people to act early and never to put themselves at risk to help an animal but to call our emergency rescuers on 0300 1234 999 for help.”
Tips to keep pets safe during stormy weather
Ensure you have a supply of food and medication for your pets
Ensure cats have access to the house or a warm, inside area where they can stay dry and escape the weather - if the weather becomes extreme, you could keep cats inside
Plan dog walks around the worst of the weather, and avoid any dangerous locations
If your dog is elderly, sick or feels the cold, get them a special coat to keep them warm
Wear reflective clothing if it’s getting dark or visibility is poor
Provide pets with a quiet, safe space to retreat to if they find the wind or storms frightening
Provide outdoor pets, like rabbits, with lots of extra bedding and ensure poultry, like chickens and ducks, have safe, dry shelter
Move outdoor pets inside or into a suitable outbuilding if the weather becomes extreme
Make a flood escape plan and ensure you have suitable carriers for small animals as well as collars, leads and carriers for cats and dogs should you need to evacuate
Rug horses and ponies and ensure they have adequate shelter or move them into stables if the weather is extreme
Make arrangements with a reliable, experienced friend to care for your horse or livestock in case you can’t reach them due to fallen trees or flooding
Consider leaving your contact details on field gates in case of emergency
Wild animals can struggle to find food and water during extreme weather, or may get lost or blown off course - leave out food and water for wildlife and seek help if you find an injured or stranded animal.
Advice for animal owners if your area floods
The RSPCA is part of Defra’s National Flood Response Team and has around 100 officers trained and equipped to deal with flood-stricken animals, as well as a fleet of 35 inflatable boats.
The team can be placed on standby to respond to flooding emergencies, rescue animals and people, and support multi-agency flood evacuations.
If your area floods you should consider moving your animals to higher ground (if outside) or moving pets inside - preferably upstairs.
If you have to leave pets behind, ensure they have plenty of food and water, leave notices on outside doors making it clear that there are animals inside who need help and contact your local flood warden immediately.
Never put your own life in danger to attempt an animal rescue.
If you’re concerned about an animal in stormy weather or flooding, take a note of the location and time, and call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 for advice.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care visit its website, https://www.rspca.org.uk/, or call its donation line on 0300 123 8181.