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Pet welfare in an emergency

Find out how and what you can do to protect your pets in an emergency.

Published: 11 January 2021

Last updated: 22 January 2021

If you have a pet at home or manage animals in a commercial setting, you are responsible for their welfare at all times.

Fires, gas leaks, and any number of other emergencies may require you and your animals to evacuate your home or your business.

This may be for a few hours, a full day or even longer.

How we can help

We will assist with temporary boarding where possible.

If we make a reception centre available, you may bring your dog or cat to a specific pet area within the centre. You are responsible for the welfare of the animal and need to ensure it is not a risk to other people and animals.

Where necessary, we will utilise contractors and local animal welfare volunteers to assist pet owners at reception and rest centres, as deemed necessary by the Local Authority Liaison Officer (LALO) on duty.

  • never leave an animal in a car as an alternative even if the windows are open as cars can become dangerously hot in minutes. This is not just a risk in the summer
  • if your safety is at risk, follow the emergency service advice. If you must leave your pet in the property make sure they have food and water for 3 days

Westminster City Council is part of the London Resilience Group (LRG) supporting partner organisations who have specific roles in preparing and responding to emergencies.

Prepare your pets

To keep your pet safe during and after an emergency, please consider the following:

  • set aside a bag of essentials nearby.
  • include a leash or carrier for every animal, any medication your pet needs, tinned or dried food, bowls, litter, towelling or bedding as required.
  • arrange with a friend or relative to look after your pet/s in an emergency.

If you have advance warning, consider placing your pet somewhere safe such as a cattery or in boarding kennels. We work with local animal charities such as Battersea Cats and Dogs home, who may be able to assist with temporary pet accommodation.

Keep a copy of your pet’s inoculation card and vet details in case you have to arrange boarding.

Many kennels will not accept animals without up to date inoculations. The National Animal Welfare Trust provides a summary and information templates for this purpose.

Further information

Find out about London’s risks or how to plan and prepare yourself or your business in emergencies on the London.gov.uk website. 

If you require more information about animal welfare, please contact the Council’s Animal Welfare Officer by emailing: [email protected]