RSPCA Cymru has taken part in a live exercise organised by Monmouthshire County Council to test major incident procedures.

RSPCA animal welfare officer (AWO) Sian Burton took part in the event held at Monmouth Leisure Centre yesterday [19 February].

As well as the council and RSPCA Cymru, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, British Red Cross, St John Cymru-Wales and Raynet (The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network) took part.

The exercise involved around 14 dogs and more than 130 volunteer ‘evacuees’ and gave vital practice to the organisations in establishing a rest centre and providing care for evacuees during a major incident.

LiveExerciseRSPCA animal welfare officer (AWO) Sian Burton, who took part in the exercise, said: “The work the RSPCA does with local authorities is integral in improving animal welfare so we were delighted to be involved in this special exercise organised by Monmouthshire County Council.”

Alex McConnachie from Chepstow brought his dog Cortez to the ‘pet centre’ where AWO Burton was based during the exercise. “Pets are important to people and are treated as family, so it is really important to consider their welfare at all times,” he said.

RSPCA Cymru’s public affairs manager, Chris O’Brien, said: “Exercises like this are exceptionally important. Ensuring a locality is resilient to the threat emergency situations pose to animals is key, and RSPCA Cymru is delighted to have worked with the local authority towards this aim.

“Forty-three percent of households in Wales own at least one pet, and major incidents, such as evacuation scenarios, can have a huge impact on animals and their welfare.”

Monmouthshire County Council’s Emergency Planning Manager Ian Hardman said: “The exercise has been an invaluable success in being able to highlight key improvements in how we manage such centres. This will be of benefit to both staff working at the centres – but more importantly to those who unfortunately may find themselves in attendance as genuine evacuees due to a real incident. I cannot thank everyone enough for their time.”

For five years in a row, Monmouthshire County Council’s contingency planning procedures have been recognised through RSPCA Cymru’s Community Animal Welfare Footprints scheme.

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message). We are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.