Horses after the 2014 bushfires
Recent fires in Victoria have affected many people and properties. While many people in Central Victoria managed to evacuate safely with their horses and pets, their properties were not always so lucky.
The horse industry has come together to provide assistance to those in need. The following information is to assist these industry groups in coordinating their resources as a response to the fires.
One-stop-shop for horse owners
Equestrian Victoria has agreed to coordinate all the assistance being offered by numerous pony clubs and horse rescue organisations. The organisations are willing to provide feed, agistment, and tack specific for horses.
Affected horse owners in need of assistance, and organisations willing to donate, are encouraged to contact Equestrian Victoria.
- phone: 03 9013 0707
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assessment and destruction of injured animals is being undertaken by teams of officers from Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
Where animals require humane destruction, and the owner is unable to undertake this, then DEDJTR or a private veterinarian need to be contacted immediately.
Where owners identify injured horses, or those suffering burns or smoke inhalation, advice from a private veterinary practitioner must be sought as soon as possible. DEDJTR staff are not equipped to treat horses.
Animals requiring assessment should be reported to Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Agistment and assistance
People with horses remaining on burnt ground should consider agisting the horses elsewhere until pasture becomes re-established on the property. Agistment may be required until spring when sufficient pasture growth returns.
Find out more about agisting horses.
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is operating an agistment register, which can be accessed by calling 1300 882 833 or visiting the Victorian Farmers Federation website.
Disposal of dead horses is the responsibility of the municipal council in which the property is located. Owners are encouraged to report disposal needs to their local council.
Municipal councils in fire affected areas are coordinating voluntary assistance for fencing. Contact your local council if you need assistance for fencing in a fire affected area.
The department has a contract with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) to manage fodder donations and set up fodder depots.
Horse owners in fire affected areas needing hay are reminded that not all donated hay will be suitable for horses and they need to check this before feeding it out. Horse owners affected by fire can seek fodder assistance through the VFF.
The contact number for the VFF is 1300 882 833 or visit the Victorian Farmers Federation website.
Managing access to restricted areas is the responsibility of the Victorian Police and VicRoads. Only when roads are checked for safety will they be opened in progressive stages, first to government emergency services, then local residents and utilities, and then to the general public.
It is paramount that all road closures are abided by for the safety of everyone involved.
For further information on which roads are open please refer to the Vicroads website.
Livestock or companion animals found wandering after the fires should be reported to the council responsible for the area they are located in. Councils can ensure that the animal is contained and can facilitate a timely reunion with its owner.