Animal Disposal Following an Emergency
Most states have their own guidelines on disposal of dead animals, so people with questions regarding the specific situation in their state are highly encouraged to contact local or state health and agricultural officials for clarification.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any special health risks I need to be aware of when disposing of dead animals?
The risk to humans from animal carcasses is low if proper precautions are taken.
People working to clean up areas containing swine or poultry carcasses should take the following precautions:
How do I dispose of a dead animal on my property during flood cleanup?
It is usually the responsibility of the owner or person in charge of domesticated animals to appropriately dispose of dead animals in accordance with local or state ordinances within 24 hours after knowledge of the death. It can be the responsibility of the municipal or county government to designate appropriate people to dispose of any domestic dead animals whose owner cannot be identified.
Contact your local animal control department, local health department, or state veterinarian for specific disposal guidance.
My pet was killed in the flood. Can I bury it on my property?
Several cities require Animal Care and Control agencies to manage the disposal of family pets and other dead animals, except for livestock. Check with your local authorities for more information.
If not, how do I dispose of the remains?
I am a farmer and I lost a lot of livestock during the flood. How do I dispose of multiple animal remains?
Each farm operation should have specific plans for animal disposal in the event of an emergency. Farm operations should check with state and local authorities to ensure their plan meets local requirements.
In addition, the US Department of Agriculture(USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) can provide technical advice and assistance on the effective disposal of animal carcasses. The main phone number for the APHIS Emergency Management Staff in Riverdale, Maryland is 301-734-8073. Local phone numbers may be established in the event of an emergency response.
These guidelines are intended to address dead animal disposal during a declared emergency. They do not take the place of the dead animal disposal that occurs under the normal permitted operation of a farm.
Source: Centers for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov
Last Editorial Review: 9/7/2005