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Strain: Prepare for Hurricane Season

May 31, 2013

Baton Rouge, LA (May 31, 2013) – As hurricane season gets underway, Louisiana Department of  Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner  Mike Strain, D.V.M., is reminding livestock and pet owners to have a plan in the event of severe weather. This is also a good time to mitigate potential damage to your property by removing dead trees or cutting back tree limbs hanging over homes or businesses.
“It’s not a matter of if we are going to be impacted by a storm but when. If you need any trees cut, it’s best to use a licensed arborist because they are trained and they must maintain liability insurance. Hiring a licensed arborist protects you. Ask to see a license issued by LDAF before allowing any work to be done on the property. Also, make sure you get a written estimate and never pay for the job in full up front,” said Strain.
Protecting your livestock business and/or family pet is also important. “As we saw last year during Hurricane Isaac, a significant number of cattle were lost because of flooding. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to plan for how to care for livestock before and during a storm,” Strain said. “This is something that takes careful preparation and must be planned for ahead of time. The state and local governments are here to assist but it is your personal responsibility to care for your animals.”
Cattle and horse owners should identify an area on their property that is least likely to flood and where livestock can quickly and easily be moved when a hurricane or other severe weather threatens the area.
“In the event an owner plans to trailer their livestock and bring the animals with them during an evacuation, it is imperative that you make arrangements ahead of time and know where you are going with those animals. Don’t assume the welcome mat will be rolled out if you show up with a trailer full of horses, cows or even the family cat or dog,” Strain said.
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. Strain also said to be mindful of the heat in the event you’re stuck in traffic. “Those conditions can add a lot of stress to your animals – both livestock and pets.” 
Tips on preparing livestock trailers:
  • Check tire pressure and rubber for wear
  • Test brake and running lights
  • Inspect the overall condition of the trailer
Important items to take during an evacuation:
  • Health records (especially proof of EIA testing for horses)
  • Food
  • Special medications
  • Bridles or leads
Proper identification for livestock that are evacuated is crucial during a natural disaster.
Livestock owners who need assistance should call their local Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP). “Your local OEPs have a network of veterinarians and other trained professionals ready to help livestock and pet owners,” Strain added.
Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30. For more information on emergency preparation for livestock and pets, visit  and click on the Emergency Programs icon on the right hand side of the page.
For more information on how to prepare a family and business plan, go to