Farming News - RSPCA issues flood advice as specialist animal water rescue team goes on standby

RSPCA issues flood advice as specialist animal water rescue team goes on standby

08 Nov 2019
Frontdesk / Arable / Livestock

The RSPCA’s emergency water rescue teams are on standby as almost 150 flood alerts and flood warnings are issued across the country. 

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The Government’s Flood Information Service issued five severe flood warnings (all for the River Don in Doncaster, South Yorkshire), 111 flood warnings and 113 alerts (as of Friday morning, 8 November) across England and Natural Resources Wales issued five flood alerts in Wales.

RSPCA inspector Jason Finch - the charity’s national water rescue coordinator - said: “Due to the expected heavy rain over the next couple of days falling on already saturated ground we have put the water rescue team on standby until Monday (11 November).

“Our control centre will inform our water rescue coordinators in the regions of any flood-related incidents so they can monitor and respond where necessary. 

“Our teams are specially trained to respond to animals in need during flooding and we’d urge any members of the public who are concerned for the welfare of animals - whether pets, livestock or wildlife - due to flooding to contact our emergency 24-hour hotline on 0300 1234 999. 

“We’d also like to remind other emergency services and agencies that we’re here to help with any animal rescues.”

The RSPCA received eight reports of flooding incidents overnight (Thursday night) which local officers were able to assist with.

The Flood Forecasting Centre - run by the Environment Agency and Met Office - predicted ‘significant river and surface water flooding’ in parts of northern England and Wales. But the RSPCA put its water rescue teams across England and Wales on standby. 

Jason added: “We’re on high alert in areas such as South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire where significant surface water flooding has been described as ‘probable’. We’ve been advised that there are also flooding risks in parts of the north, north Midlands, Lincolnshire, East Anglia, and in Wales.”

The RSPCA has an experienced team of around 60 officers - trained to work in fast water and contaminated water, to rescue both people and animals - to provide assistance to communities affected by flooding.

The charity advises all animal owners to ensure their pets and livestock stay safe in harsh weather conditions, including periods of wet weather which can lead to flooding.

Jason added: “Make sure you have a plan so that you know how to get your animals out of danger if the worst was to happen and you found yourself caught up in flooding.

“Floodwater can rise very quickly so if there is a flood warning in your area then act early and put your flood plan into action.

“Don’t put your own life or another’s life in danger to attempt an animal rescue and call us for help in an emergency.”

Top tips

  • Plan your escape route and keep contact details of people who can help you move your animals in an emergency;

  • Ensure you can be contacted in an emergency - if you have horses or livestock in field attach your contact details to gates so you can be contacted;

  • Make sure you have suitable carriers available for small animals and keep a supply of food in case of evacuation; 

  • Bring small animals inside and, if possible, upstairs, and move food, bedding etc somewhere dry;

  • Put important documents in sealed bag along with photo of pet incase they get lost;

  • Move livestock and horses to high ground and ensure you have emergency feed and water supplies;

  • If you have to leave your animals behind, leave them inside an upstairs room with plenty of food and water. Leave notices on the outside doors to say there are animals inside and contact us or your local Flood Warden immediately to arrange rescue.

Residents can stay informed by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for information and flood warnings 24 hours a day, or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood. Wales residents should seek updates from https://naturalresources.wales/.

To see all our flood advice for small pets, horses and livestock, see our guide here: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/floods.

To help the RSPCA continue its vital work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in need please visit www.rspca.org.uk/give