Civil Defence and Emergency Plans

SPCA Otago has a Civil Defence Plan so as to react to emergencies and disasters which directly or indirectly affect animals within the Society's geographical response area.  This allows us to carry out field rescue work during hazardous circumstances that create high risk to animals.  Examples of such hazards are earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surges, flooding, severe snow and rural fire.

Animals matter in disasters - your pets are a part of your family so 'make a plan' to keep them safe!

What can you do to prepare for a disaster? Follow this plan to include your pet during a disaster:


  1. Include pet food in your survival kit. Remember when working out how much water you need for your family to include some for your pet too.
  2. Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification so you can be reunited if you get separated. Microchipping is one of the best forms of identification ― this can be done through your local vet ― make sure your pet’s microchip is registered with the national microchip database. This will give you and your pet a greater chance to be reunited.
  3. Create a Pet Disaster Survival Kit. Make sure it is easy to access and, if time permits, take it with you if you have to leave your property.  Consider the suggested Pet Disaster Survival Kit below.
  4. If you must leave your home quickly, collect your pet, cover them with a towel or blanket or put them in a pet carrier (if pet is small) or put on a lead (if pet is large). You can also use a pillowcase for a cat or small animal and hold/tie this closed at the top. Leave their toys and bedding behind ― urgency and safety is paramount. If it is safe to do so, it would also help to leave a note on the front door for emergency services stating that you and your pets have left the property.
  5. If leaving is not possible, keep your pets close to you. Do not let them crawl under beds or tables, as they may be crushed (e.g. in an earthquake). For your safety, as your pet may be terrified, cover and wrap them with a towel or blanket.
  6. After the crisis has past, comfort your pet with soothing words and lots of cuddles.

If you have to leave, take your pet with you. Your pet cannot survive without you and you may not be able to return to your property for several days.


  • A pet carrier or crate
  • Pet collar, lead and/or harness
  • A pet towel or blanket
  • Pet identification – a collar and tag with your contact number, if your pet is not microchipped
  • Enough food and water for seven days
  • Enough medication (if needed) for seven days
  • Bowls for food and water
  • A can opener
  • Photos of your pet
  • Emergency contact list for your local authorities, vet and animal rescue centres
  • Litter tray and litter (for cats)
  • Poo bags (for dogs)
  • Newspaper
  • Cleaning solution
  • A backpack or container to carry everything