The animal shelter is in conjunction with the mega-shelter that is now open in Alexandria for citizens who have received evacuation assistance from the state.

As Tropical Storm Barry approaches, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M., is urging both pet and livestock owners to continue preparations not only for themselves but also their animals.

"As you prepare to take care of your family, there is still time to move your livestock to higher ground or prepare to take proper care of your family pet during a storm," Strain said.

Tropical Storm Barry is expected to inundate parts of the state with rain and is expected to cause flooding. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has set up an animal shelter to care for household pets. The animal shelter is in conjunction with the mega-shelter that is now open in Alexandria for citizens who have received evacuation assistance from the state.

By law, the LDAF is designated by the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act to assist in transporting and sheltering household pets for evacuated citizens going to shelters during declared emergencies. The LDAF now has two mobile pet shelters to assist in keeping family pets in close proximity to their owners when an evacuation is necessary. Those pet trailers and LDAF employees are ready to be mobilized, if necessary.

Also, a statewide burn ban is now in effect for all private burning. Private burning shall only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government. The burn ban shall not apply to prescribed burns by those trained and certified by the LDAF for agriculture related issues as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law. 

"High winds often precede major storms which increase the possibility of fires spreading. That is why the state fire marshal and I take this precautionary measure," added Strain.

For more information on emergency preparation for livestock and pets, visit www.LDAF.la.gov  and click on the Emergency Programs tab. For more information on how to prepare a family and business plan, go to www.getagameplan.org.

Contributed by LDAF