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One million pets at risk from floods

The Blue Cross, has warned that there are potentially one million pets at risk of loss or injury in times of flooding.

With government figures indicating there are approximately two million properties on flood risk areas across England and Wales, the charity warned that with pet ownership in the UK at an all time high, the risk of flooding affecting household pets is growing. According to the Environment Agency, fewer than one in ten people have made any advance preparations to minimise potential damage and heartache caused by flooding.

Steve Goody, director of companion animal welfare at The Blue Cross said: "Pets rely on their owners for protection, so in times of flooding they need you to ensure their welfare.

What we are suggesting is not rocket science, it simply means that owners must think in advance of the 'what if's' and ensure they make provision for their pets."

In response to these growing concerns, The Blue Cross has teamed up with the Environment Agency to produce an advice leaflet for pet owners living on floodplains. As with family members and property, the best way to protect animals in the event of flooding is preparation, and the Environment Agency backed leaflet aims to provide helpful advice on what to do before and during times of flooding.

Liz Cook from the Environment Agency said: "The leaflet is packed with practical tips on how to safeguard your pets. The best protection you can give is to be prepared for flooding. Taking a few moments to draw up a flood plan could mean the difference between life and death for your pet."

Practical advice in the leaflet includes making plans for the evacuation of pets should owners be away from home and bringing small animals like rabbits inside when a flood warning is given.

Fifty years ago, the North Sea broke through the sea defences of the East Coast and Thames Estuary. More than one thousand animals were saved from the floodwaters by The Blue Cross, who was known as Our Dumb Friends' League at the time of the disastrous flooding.

The Blue Cross Pets & Floods leaflet is available from The Blue Cross website www.bluecross.org.uk, the Environment Agency's Floodline website www.environment-agency.gov.uk/floodline by calling The Blue Cross on 01993 822651, or Floodline on 0845 988 1188.