S.C. Livestock-Equine Emergency Instructions

In South Carolina, horse and livestock owners at various times may have to deal with an emergency situation that requires rapid, coordinated response. An emergency may involve only one animal, such as a horse fallen down cliffside on mountain trail or a cow fallen into old well, or may involve a whole area of the state, such as a hurricane evacuation.

Depending on the specific emergency, instructions may vary, but a few basic preparations may save valuable time and the lives of your animals.

Remember that with all domestic animals, the primary responsibility for emergency care rests with the owner. In general, this means that medical and maintenance care arrangements and costs are the direct responsibility of the owner.

The order for response to any emergency is:

1. Local:

  • Animal control/emergency law enforcement officers
  • Veterinarians
  • County Clemson Extension Agents
  • Humane Societies
  • County Emergency Preparedness Division officers.

If this first line of response is overwhelmed, they may request assistance from:

2. State:

  • S. C. Department of Agriculture
  • Clemson University Livestock-Poultry Health
  • South Carolina Horsemen's Council
  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service
  • South Carolina Association of Veterinarians
  • South Carolina Animal Care and Control Association, S. C.
  • Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • S. C. Department of Natural Resources, and others.

The Governor may declare a state disaster and request federal relief. State volunteer organizations may request assistance from national organizations.

3. National:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency,
  • The American Veterinary Medicine Association Veterinary Medical Alert Teams
  • U. S. Department of Agriculture
  • National Humane Organizations:
    • The American Humane
    • Association, the Humane Society of the United States
    • The American Horse Protection Association

Remember that local response is the most rapid, and in many cases, the only response that is required. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the strengths and weaknesses of your own county animal related agencies.

Introduce yourself to your county animal control officer, local humane society director or county extension agent and give them your support in developing county plans for animal emergency response.

Your cooperation and participation in the animal portion of emergency response situations is very much appreciated. As we continue to develop local animal emergency response plans, we re also developing a statewide animal emergency response plan, so please continue to do your part to prepare and cooperate within your area.

Here are a few lists for your information. You are encouraged to complete them and keep them in a convenient place for quick review in case of emergency.

A. Emergency supplies:

  1. Plastic trash barrel with lid
  2. Tarpaulins
  3. Water buckets
  4. First aid items (check with your veterinarian or the SC Horsemen's Council for lists)
  5. Portable radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  6. Fire-resistant non-nylon leads and halters
  7. Sharp knife and wire cutters
  8. Leg wraps (disposable baby diapers make good emergency wraps or bandages)
  9. Lime and bleach
  10. Portable pens or crates if appropriate.

Emergency phone numbers:

  1. Local veterinarian, with backup numbers
  2. County Emergency Preparedness Division office (check with county government listing)
  3. County Animal Control
  4. Local humane society or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  5. Nearest SC Horseman's Council representative
  6. County Clemson Extension Service office
  7. Nearest livestock representative

General Recommendations:

  1. Review your property, looking for: wind and rain protection flood risk areas debris in case of high winds condition of security fencing
  2. Maintain communication with at least one person who will know where you and your animals will be
  3. Mark your animals with clear identification, such as microchips, tattoos, legbands or spray paint/permanent marker with your telephone number.
  4. Maintain permanent health and I.D. records in a safe place. Take them with you if you evacuate.
  5. Leave 48-72 hours of water and feed for animals if you evacuate and do not take them. Use child's plastic swimming pool, boats, trash cans, bath tubs.
  6. Know who can transport animals if necessary, and where animals can be relocated, or be prepared to leave them if necessary.
  7. Find out if anyone nearby has equipment which may be shared, such as trailers, generators, water tanks or portable pens.

For further information, contact:

  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension office in your county
  • South Carolina Horsemen's Council (803) 734-2187
  • Clemson University Livestock-Poultry Health Programs (803) 788-2260
  • Stabling information is available through the S. C. Horsemen's Council and Clemson University Livestock-Poultry Health Programs.