Unidentified livestock left homeless after Collier County fire

As a result of the 36th Avenue SE fire, thousands of acres of land and many homes were destroyed. Animals were displaced, including a bull found wandering near Golden Gate Estates.

Darcy Andrade, the Collier County Animal Services shelter director, said, “he doesn’t have any identification so we’re really hoping that his owner comes down and sees him and claims him.” And he’s not the only one. Displaced livestock often end up at the shelter but can’t always be identified.

“Especially during Hurricane Irma, we received several horses, we received some cattle, we received other miscellaneous animals and we have very limited spaces that we can keep them; that’s why it’s so important to identify them,” Andrade said.

Collier County sheriff’s deputies saved nearly 20 sheep from the fire and returned them to their owners because they could be identified. Animal Services is trying to stress the importance of tagging your animals before tragedies like fires and hurricanes occur.

There are multiple ways tagging can be done, as long as the animal can be identified as yours. “You can take a permanent marker and write on their hooves, different things with your contact information, microchip your livestock, or you can put it into horses’ manes,” Andrade explains.  Another simple and easy way to identify your animals: take pictures with them to prove you are the owner.

Because of a state statute, the livestock cannot be adopted but rather they can be “auctioned off” without identification.

Andrade reminds everyone that “it’s very important in the event of a disaster that livestock owners identify their animals just in case they get loose, like with the fires.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Drew Hill
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