Evacuating Pets and Large Animals

dog inside a special plastic gray crate animal

Federal law requires the sheltering and evacuation of animals during natural disasters. The federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, passed in 2006, requires state and local agencies to develop emergency preparedness plans for individuals with pets and service animals.1 In case of an emergency, you should have a disaster plan; a Los Angeles County animal control company may not be able to care for your domestic dog or cat.

For Pets

  • Update collars and identification tags; your cell phone number should be on the tag, as most citizens can’t scan for a chip.
  • Evacuate with your pet; you don’t know when you’ll return. If a location isn’t safe for you, it won’t be for your pet.
  • Find a safe place in advance and evacuate early. The smell of smoke, sound of high winds, and sight of chaotic conditions can make a pet fearful and agitated.

Also, try making prior arrangements with friends or relatives, or have a list of veterinarian’s offices and kennels that can shelter domestic animals such as dogs and cats.

For Large Animals

Large animals such as horses should be fitted with bracelets or microchips. You should plan for evacuations. Train your horse to enter a trailer so they won’t be frightened when it’s time to leave. Also:

  • Identify nearby stables or safety zones where you can walk your horses to and/or load them into a trailer.
  • Consider stables outside of Los Angeles in case areas designated by the Los Angeles Fire Department aren’t available or accessible.
  • Stock a surplus of feed and have a three-day supply of water for emergencies.

Animals affected by California wildfires can face extreme hardship. If at all possible, take your pets with you when evacuating. When you find wildlife around your home following a disaster, rely on an animal control professional’s help. For assistance, contact Animal Capture Wildlife Control at 310-551-0901.


  1. https://www.animallaw.info/intro/state-and-federal-disaster-planning-laws-and-pets