Greater Manchester awarded gold for animal welfare services provided at times of emergency

GREATER Manchester has received a gold award for its work in ensuring the safety and welfare of animals at times of emergency.

The city-region has been named as a recipient of the RSPCA PawPrints Gold Contingency Planning Award, which recognises good practice from local authorities, housing providers and contingency planners in relation to animal welfare.

Greater Manchester works to ensure that pets and animals are among the considerations during an emergency response and a Pet Evacuation Plan has been developed by all the different agencies involved. The plan gives guidance to all responding agencies on what they need to consider in relation to pets during a major emergency, including identifying space for pets in evacuation centres and giving guidance for dealing with lost and left pets.

Most recently during the coronavirus pandemic, Greater Manchester agencies dealt with a number of incidents where pets needed to be considered. Hotels were identified that would accept pets if there was a need to evacuate any areas during lockdowns.

In the first wave of Covid-19, homeless people were homed in hotels and hostels. Many had pets that were homed with them, fed, watered and looked after.

During training and exercise sessions, pets are taken into consideration for any scenario and partners are also asked to consider animal welfare.

Pet owners are also reminded to make sure they have plans in place and think about what they may need to do at times of emergency.

Kathy Oldham, Greater Manchester’s Chief Resilience Officer said: “It is fantastic news that once again Greater Manchester has been recognised for its hard work in ensuring the safety of pets is considered properly as part of our resilience planning. We will always do what we can to make sure pets and animals are cared for during an emergency.

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented many challenges over the last year and our teams have worked hard to ensure pets were homed in suitable hotels and hostels when necessary.”

Greater Manchester previously won the Gold Contingency Planning Award in 2019 and was recognised for support given to people and their pets in Marple, during the Toddbrook Reservoir incident in Whaley Bridge.

Rachel Williams, Senior Parliamentary Advisor for the RSPCA, said: "The RSPCA is delighted to recognise the fantastic efforts of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority's contingency planning measures through its PawPrints scheme.

"The city-region has performed exceptionally in considering pets, pet owners and other animal welfare issues in their emergency planning protocols - and we're proud to work closely with the Council on this important work.

"Through awareness-raising campaigns, live exercises and supporting establishments with large numbers of animals in drawing up contingency plans, we're over the moon to recognise these efforts in Greater Manchester with a gold award."

The Award was given to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities Civil Contingencies Resilience Unit. The unit provides expert civil contingencies services to the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities including in the areas of health protection, disaster risk reduction, emergency management and recovery.

The unit offers year-round emergency response service, ensuring Greater Manchester’s local authorities always have access to disaster management expertise.

Article Published: 20/10/2021 13:01 PM