Before Event During Event After Event Resources

Before the Event

The time to take steps to protect your horses, livestock and other large animals is well in advance of an approaching storm. You should have a written plan in place to help protect and ensure the safety of your animals well before hurricane season begins on June 1.

  • Take the time to microchip your large animals, or otherwise identify them. Register the microchip number so that contact information can be accessed as necessary when the microchip is scanned.
  • Register your large animal with Broward County’s Large Animal Registry.
  • For horses, consider putting Vaseline on their hooves. This will help to protect the hoof from severe water damage if the horse ends up in standing water or flooded areas.
  • Assess the sturdiness, wind resistance and storm-worthiness of your stable or barn, including the roof, walls, windows and doors. Assess how well your barn is tied into its foundation.
  • Make whatever improvements you can to improve the sturdiness of these structures.
  • Assess all fences. Make sure fences are of appropriate construction and in good repair. Barbed wire fences can injure your animals. Chain link and horse wire fences can collect debris and fall down. Broward County recommends board fences nailed to the posts on the inside. When animals push or lean against this type of fence, the nails are pushed further into the post, further securing the rails.
  • Based on your assessment, create a written hurricane plan, and share it with individuals who may be helping you implement it.
  • Post your plan in a prominent place in the barn, stable or other shelter. Develop a checklist to ensure everything is done.
  • Assemble photographs of you with your animal to prove ownership. Send a copy of the photos to someone out of the area, and keep originals with you. Photos should show any distinguishing animal markings. Keep current health record(s), including Coggins test results, with the photos in a safe and dry place.
  • If you plan to evacuate your animal out of the area, plan now for where you will go, and also leave early. Remember that traffic will be heavy and you do not want to get caught on the road with animals in trailers. They are unstable in high winds, and animals can easily be injured in the event of an accident.
As a Storm Approaches
  • Remove all debris (tree limbs, lumber, fencing, etc.) from the area where animals will be kept. Since wind can carry debris long distances, try working jointly with neighbors to remove as much debris as possible from surrounding property.
  • If your barn is not strong and you lack appropriate pasturage, consider moving your animals to a more secure facility. If this means evacuating out of the general area, plan early and leave early to ensure you reach your destination well before the storm.
  • In a Category 1 or Category 2 storm, horses will be safer in a strong, secure barn or stable. In a Category 3 or Category 4 storm, they may be safer outside, provided:
    • they have room to move about (at least ¼ to ½ acre per animal)
    • fences are strong and will not collect debris that will push them over
    • there are no overhead power lines that can come down into the pasture
  • Have on hand sufficient hay, feed and water for your animals for at least a week.
  • Use low-grade hay and store feed in waterproof containers. Hay bales should be covered with tarps and off the ground at least two feet to protect from flooding. Do not leave animals with grain as they may founder.
  • If the electricity is off, your water pump probably will not work. Consider investing in troughs that, when filled with water, will be too heavy to tip over. Large animals, such as horses, may require 15-20 gallons of water per animal per day.
  • Have a supply of commonly used medications and wound treatment supplies on hand in case it is necessary to perform basic first aid.
  • Prepare your animals. If applicable, be sure your animal is wearing a leather halter. The halter makes it easier to catch your animal if it gets loose. A leather halter is more likely than a nylon halter to break loose if the horse gets caught on something. You can use bell boots to protect your horse’s legs.
  • Make sure your animal is identified in at least three of these ways: 
    • If your animal is tattooed or has a microchip, be sure ownership information with the appropriate registry is up-to-date.
    • Spray paint your area code and telephone number on the side of the horse in a contrasting color. Use acrylic paint, which will wear off in 1-2 weeks or sooner with good grooming.
    • Attach a fetlock band or mare band to your animal with your name, address and telephone number in permanent ink.
    • Place the animal's identification information on a waterproof luggage tag and braid it into the mane or tail, close to the base.
    • Attach pertinent information to the halter. Secure tightly in a plastic bag and affix to the halter with packing tape.
Contact phone number should be visible on the side of your horse Attach a fetlock band with your name and address Tag the mane as well
Use acrylic spray paint and clearly place your phone number with area code, on the side of the animal. Attach a mare band or fetlock band to your animal with your name, address, and phone number in permanent ink.
Tag the horse's tail too See the boot on the horse's front foot A leather halter is best
  • Before leaving the stable or barn, turn off the electricity at the main switch.

Updated April 2016