Animal/Agriculture Emergency Response

Clemson University Livestock Poultry Health (CULPH), as the state animal health regulatory agency, has the legal authority and mandated responsibility to assist in the prevention of diseases that threaten South Carolina livestock and poultry. These responsibilities include managing state response actions in the event of a reportable disease affecting animals. There are numerous diseases of concern that affect animals only but several of these, called zoonotic diseases (such as Avian Influenza, Rift Valley Fever) can also threaten public health.

In 1999 CULPH took on a non-traditional role in addition to its traditional role in disease prevention and response. As the Primary Agency for Emergency Support Function 17 (ESF-17), a section of the State Emergency Operations Plan, CULPH partners with several Support Agencies to help the State Emergency Management Division and the Governor to coordinate statewide resources needed to support the citizens of SC in “all hazards” disasters. Natural (such as hurricanes and earthquakes) and technological disasters (such as a radiological accident) can have consequences on animals, plants/crops and all agricultural assets in the state.

ESF-17 Support Agencies:

  • Clemson University Regulatory and Public Service Programs
  • South Carolina Department of Agriculture
  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service
  • Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • South Carolina Association of Veterinarians
  • South Carolina Animal Care and Control Association
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • SC Forestry Commission
  • SC National Guard
  • SC LLR
  • SC Farm Bureau Federation

Click on the link below to read the complete Annex 17 of the State Emergency Operations Plan. ESF-17 activities are summarized below this link.

SC Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Annex 17: Animal/Agriculture Response

Summary of ESF-17 activities:


  • ESF-17 State agencies work every day in their core mission(s) to maintain healthy animals and crops and to ensure a safe and wholesome food supply – this includes routine disease surveillance at laboratories
  •  State ESF-17 Planning Committee members – liaisons from Support Agencies and other stakeholders -- review and edit the Annex (each fall) and the Standard Operating Procedures (each spring)
  • State ESF-17 agencies, organizations, and individuals collaborate regularly (such as within interagency councils and committees) at the local and state level, as well as with counterparts in other states and national stakeholder groups
    • To develop collaborate planning strategies for prevention and response for “all-hazards” events
    •  To provide training and guidance for stakeholders
    • To develop standardized “typed” personnel and equipment for response
  •  A small group of individuals from CULPH, Clemson Extension, and Clemson Regulatory Services train to prepare as volunteers (called the State Emergency Response Team or SERT) in the State Emergency Operations Center to assist with resource coordination during disasters
  • Some State ESF-17 members may provide assistance to SC County Emergency Management Division Directors to assist them with development of local stakeholder response groups such as County Animal / Agriculture Response Teams (CARTs)


  • ESF-17 Agencies work together to coordinate resources and collaborate with other ESFs and all appropriate parties using the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • SERT members staff the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and follow Emergency Management Division (EMD) protocols including regular status reports
  •  Resources are sought locally first -- if needed, from other areas in the state – if not available, from other states -- or from pre-designated nongovernmental organizations – federal resources may also be requested
  • Animal-owning citizens will employ their individual emergency plans so they can continue to care for and be responsible for their animals. However, when disaster situations overwhelm these plans, the following resources may be needed, requested and provided:
    • Public information to assist citizens with evacuation and sheltering for their pets and service animals; and for stabling for horse owners
    • Providing trained animal handlers to capture and transport displaced animals that are in harm’s way or are impeding response efforts
      • Handlers may be Animal Control Officers
      • Handlers may be from one of the Large Animal Rescue Team (LARTs) which are assets of several SC counties assets that are deployed from either County EMS, EMD, or Sheriff’s Departments
    • Providing assistance with staffing, guidance, and/or supplies at temporary animal emergency shelter sites
    • Delivering feed or water to displaced livestock
    • Assisting with all available systems to reunite animal owners with their animals when they have become separated
  • Other important response actions include these:
    • Performing damage assessment and submitting reports to appropriate parties
    • Providing consultation on animal, crop, zoonotic disease, food safety, and agroterrorism issues
    • Providing veterinary medical care when indicated
    • Coordinating resources for humane animal depopulation, when indicated
    • Coordinating resources for decontamination, cleaning and disinfection
    • Coordinating resources for animal carcass disposition


  • Phase out resources used in response
  • Collect and submit event-related data
  • Assist with all resources available for recovery

All ESF-17 agencies and organizations recognize the importance of animals and agriculture to South Carolina citizens and pledge to work on their behalf to prevent and reduce losses in emergency situations.


CULPH Contact:

Charlotte Krugler, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
Emergency Preparedness Veterinarian