Vet hospitals, kennels and Local Land Services are throwing their support behind the Tathra community on Monday.
The hospitals are offering free check ups and medical treatment for pets or wildlife found near the Tathra fires.
“In a situation like this, burns are obviously the biggest concern,” says veterinarian Jane Woolacott at the Bega vet hospital. “Most are direct burns if animals were caught directly in the fire grounds,”
“But the extreme heat and burning ground can also mean burnt pads on dogs and cats.”
Dr Woolacott said animals can also be injured through “misadventure” in the panic if they had escaped yards or homes and fled from the fire.
She said leg injuries were the most common as pets and wildlife can become trapped in scrub or have things fall on them.
The hospital said they would also help if any animals needed specialist medication as many who evacuated didn’t have time to gather anything.
“We haven’t had any need of particular medicines yet, but if anyone does need anything in that regard, please come and see us,” Dr Woolacott said.
She said a number of pets had been brought in overnight, but it had been pretty quiet early on Monday.
“We’re waiting to see what happens when people can get back in to Tathra.”
Unfortunately, she said a number of pets had been left behind and the vets would be on hand to help as people were able to return to their homes.
Smoke inhalation and heat-stroke will be big concerns for animals that were near the fires, but not directly caught in them.
“While there is still thick smoke, keeping your pet indoors is the best way to do it,” Dr Woolacott said.
“And stay out of areas that had been affected, it might look unharmed, but there is still a big risk of burns there.”
She said it could be a few days before injured wildlife can be treated as the animals “go to ground”.
However, she urged people to be cautious as snakes would be on the move.
“If you find any injured pets or wildlife, please give us a call or just come in.”
The Bega Vet Hospital is located in the Industrial area and can be called on 6492 1837.
Merimbula Vets is also liaising with Bega Vets to help with high case loads.
Anyone unable to get in to Bega or Bermagui or needing to drop off wildlife can go to Merimbula as well.
Dr Carl and his team at Bermagui Vet Clinic are offering free checks for pets and also wildlife treatment for those affected by the fires.
You can contact them on 6493 4813 or 0404 550 891 for veterinary advice or support.
“Our hearts are with all those affected,” Motria von Schreiber said.
HELP FOR PETS
Both the Sapphire Coast Kennels and Cattery and the Pambula Kennels are offering free care for those affected by the Tathra fires.
Greg Halloran said the Pambula Kennels are specialist dog lovers and were looking to do their part to help.
“We want to help ease the burden for the dog lovers and are offering free accommodation for dogs and we have a lot of great staff who are keen to do their part.”
Mr Halloran encouraged anyone with a dog who was forced to evacuate to call on 6495 6543.
“The phone is sometimes un-manned but leave us a message and we check them regularly and we’ll get back to you asap.”
The Sapphire Coast Kennels and Cattery are also offering free accommodation for pets and can be contacted on 6494 4004.
LOCAL LAND SERVICES
Anyone with pets that have evacuated to Bega or Bermagui are asked to get in touch with representatives from the Local Land Services.
Jake Tanner is on site at the Bega Evacuation Centre at the Showground and is coordination efforts to look after animals.
“We have food and water on site, but definitely check in with us and we can coordinate any help you need,” Mr Tanner said.
He said the group were looking to help all pets, but were also requesting people contact them if they had any livestock concerns.
“We’re certainly looking after the pets, but we are also here to help with any livestock concerns, so anyone should please come and see us.”
You can contact the Bega Local Land Services office on 02 6491 7800. The Local Land Services team is also onsite at the Bega Evacuation Centre.