As hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders prepare for the worst cyclone since Yasi to make landfall, one consideration residents need to make is what to do with their pets.
The Whitsunday Regional Council cyclone shelter is advising evacuees to make alternate arrangements for their pets ahead of Cyclone Debbie -- as the facility can not accommodate animals.
Destructive winds of up to 300 kilometres an hour are expected to lash the Queensland coastline from Lucinda through to St Lawrence, with Townsville, Ayr and Bowen likely to be among the worst affected.
"Pet owners will need to identify, early in their cyclone planning, other arrangements for sheltering their pets. No pets are allowed in the Cyclone Shelter," the website reads.
The Cyclone Shelter and Evacuation Options document advises that people check, before they leave home, if they are able to take their pets with them and if not, arrange for the pet to seek shelter in another town outside the warning area.
RSPCA Qld reminds people about the need to cater for their pets in their emergency plans:
- Properly identify your pets (e.g name tags, microchip or band);
- Be aware that some evacuation centres may not accept animals so plan alternatives accordingly;
- If moving animals to a safer place, do so early to avoid unnecessary risk;
- Ensure there is access to plenty of food and water;
- If staying at home secure animals in good time so that they do not take flight.
If you have to leave pets behind:
- If possible, leave your pets indoors;
- Place pets in separate rooms with small or preferably no windows (e.g laundry, bathroom);
- Provide adequate food and water in large heavy bowls;
- If left outside, do not tie them up.
For queries about animal safety, call:
Wildlife Hotline: 1300 130 372
RSPCA: 1300 852 188
To find your closest disaster centre:
Cairns Regional Council Disaster Coordination Centre: (07) 4044 3377
Douglas Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre: (07) 4098 2599