Ranchers are playing a bad game of “wait and see” as rains continue to flood the coast of Texas. Many ranchers are still trapped by the high waters and have no ways to check on livestock or assess damage.
“Right now, we are preparing to mobilize animal response teams once the weather allows,” says Thomas Swafford, Texas Animal Health Commission, which coordinates livestock emergency responses in the state.
Producers who need assistance with shelter for themselves or livestock should call 2-1-1 for help, he adds. Operators can provide county-based information for large or small animal shelter/holding facilities in your area or in your evacuation area.
As producers start to search for livestock, state associations stand ready to help.
“The large animal recovery process hasn’t been able to start yet,” says Jeremy Fuchs, communications lead for Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA). “Our team of 30 special rangers will be in the area to assist ranchers.”
TSCRA ranchers can help producers find and identify lost livestock and provide assistance in security efforts.
TAHC has compiled a list of Texas animal holding facilities and shelters.
Producers, when you can get to facilities and search for livestock, remember:
- TAHC offers several resources online to help producers after the hurricane. Step one is survey damage to barns, structures and fences for security and safety.
- Examine animals for injury and contact your veterinarian if you observe injuries or signs of illness.
- Provide clean, uncontaminated water and hay.
- If you find cattle or other livestock with official identification, document the number, location of the animal(s), and call TAHC at 512-719-0733 or 806-354-9335 and TAHC will contact the owner.
- If you find stray cattle that have a brand, call TSCRA at 817-332-7064 for brand identification. Visit www.tscra.org for more information.
- If cattle have strayed onto your property, you must report them to the sheriff’s office in the county you are located in within five days of discovery to be eligible for reasonable payment for maintenance of or damages caused by the stray livestock.
Many people are still dealing with human rescue, severe flooding, down trees and power lines. Fields and roads are flooded or very muddy and hard to get through,” Fuchs adds. “It might take several days for farmers and ranchers to assess damage to livestock, equipment and facilities.”