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Animals (Wild & Domestic)

Wild Animals:

The Town of South Bethany does not handle complaints of — or deal with — wildlife and animal control (i.e., foxes, snakes, raccoons, etc.). To deter such animals, please refer to the information and links provided below.

The Delaware Animal Services (DAS) also does not handle complaints involving wildlife. 

If you encounter an animal behaving aggressively: It is recommended you contact DNREC’s Wildlife Section at (302) 739-9912 or (302) 735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at If you come in direct, close physical contact with an animal behaving aggressively, do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response — if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth — should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it. If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a long stick, shovel, or fishing pole.

Nuisance Wild Animal Concerns – such as a squirrel in the attic or skunk under a shed:

If you encounter a sick or injured animal: To report a sick or hurt wild animal, Delaware residents are being asked to contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at (302) 739-9912 or (302) 735-3600. DNREC Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a permitted private volunteer wildlife control rehabilitator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at

If you encounter a sick stray or feral domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at (302) 255-4646.

Injured birds: If you spot an injured bird, call Tri-State at 302-737-9543 or the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife at 302-739-9912. When contacting Tri-State, please have patience while waiting for someone to respond as Tri-State rescuers rely on volunteers. If a volunteer is not immediately available to respond, keep an eye on the bird. If able and comfortable, contain or capture the bird with guidance over the phone from Tri-State experts. For more tips on responding to injured wild birds, go to The Town of South Bethany does not handle reports of injured birds.

To report someone trying to injure wildlife, call 800-292-3030.

If you encounter a rabid animal: Anyone who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched by, or encountered a rabid animal or feral cat in this area should immediately contact their healthcare provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at (302) 744-4995. An epidemiologist is available 24/7. Anyone in the area who thinks a rabid animal may have bitten their pet should call their private veterinarian to have their pet examined and treated, and the exposure reported to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Rabies is a preventable disease. The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) recommends that individuals take these steps to prevent rabies exposure:

• All dogs, cats, and ferrets 6 months or older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.

• Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important for pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors to vaccinate their pets.

• Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.

• Do not keep a pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.

• Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.

• Spaying or neutering a pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.

• Keep your garbage securely covered.

• Consider vaccinating livestock and horses as well. It is recommended to consult with a private veterinarian for any questions regarding whether an animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies.

For more information on the DPH rabies program, visit or call 1-866-972-9705 or (302) 744-4995. For more information on rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at

Road Kill Removal: If you wish to report road kill (i.e., dead deer, dead dog, etc.) for removal from a road, DelDOT has a crew to perform this duty. You may reach them at 302-659-4600.

Dogs & Cats: The Town understands this is a beach area — and most people like to let their dogs run free, without a leash; however, to keep the public, other animals and your animal safe, the Town would like to inform (and remind) its residents and visitors that the Town and State have a leash law in effect (in effect per Town Code Chapter 30) prohibiting dogs (no matter how old or docile) to roam “at large” without a leash.

If you wish to report a dog “at large” (i.e., without a leash and/or on a property which is not said dog owner’s property), or report a stray cat, please contact the South Bethany Police Department by calling 302-539-3996.

How to Deal with Pets/Animals Before/During Emergencies:

Our pets are our family members, and just like our family members, we must consider their individual needs when it comes to emergency preparedness. In this toolkit, we’ll talk about how to prepare your pets, what individual needs you may consider, and what to do in the event of certain emergencies.

We’ll also consider the needs of livestock. Our livestock are the backbone of our economy, so we’ll provide tips for how to keep your animals safe in the event of a disaster.

In this toolkit, we’ll offer you best practices for preparing your animals for any disaster.


What should you do to prepare your pets for a disaster:

  • Know your hazards. Plan for the hazards that can affect your area and think about how these hazards will impact your pets.
  • Have an emergency plan and consider your pets if you need to evacuate. Most shelters do not accept pets, so think ahead as to what you would do in the event of a disaster.
  • Make your pet a go-bag. Fill a bag with essential supplies for your pet in case you and your family need to evacuate with your pet.
  • Keep copies of essential pet documents in your go-bag, including a photo of you and your pet.


Know Your Hazards

All hazards can be dangerous to pets, much as they can be to humans. Think through what hazards may apply to you and your family, and how they would impact your pet. Hazards could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Flooding
    • Think through where you’ll go in the event of a flood, and where your pet would go. Can your pet swim if water rises rapidly?
  • Severe weather, thunderstorms
    • Could your pet be impacted by severe weather and a loss of power?
    • Excessive periods of heat or cold can also affect your pet, so make sure to limit their time outside if the temperatures are extreme.
  • Excessive heat or cold
    • Excessive periods of heat or cold can also affect your pet, so make sure to limit their time outside if the temperatures are extreme.
    • Never leave your pet unattended in a locked car.
  • House/Barn Fires
    • Alert first responders that you have a pet in the home, if your pet has not left the home.
    • Tip: Many sites offer decals for your doors and windows which you can use to indicate that a pet lives in the residence. Here’s a link to a free one, as an example:
    • Barns often contain flammable materials such as dry hay, bedding, and wood so make sure to take steps to avoid barn fires, such as having your electrical appliances checked regularly and enforcing a no smoking policy in or near the barn.
  • Hurricanes
    • Think through your emergency plan and where you’ll evacuate with your pet. If you’re sheltering in place, consider where you’ll go and make sure to bring your pet with you.
  • Tornadoes
    • Bring your pet with you to a safe location while you shelter in place. Identify a room basement, storm cellar or safe room, or a small interior room on the lowest level of your building. Keep yourself and your pets away from windows, doors and outside walls.

To be informed of any emergency, sign up for your community’s warning system. You can also recent alters from the Emergency Alert System (EAS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and the FEMA App. If you have sirens in your community to alert you of a hazard, familiarize yourself with the siren sound.

Have an Emergency Plan for your Pet

Plan for what to do before, during and after a disaster. Before any disaster, bring your pet inside immediately. Never leave your pet outside.

Plan ahead for an evacuation. Not all shelters will accept pets, so plan in advance for options that will work for you and your pet. Think of where you may go and where your pet would go, such as:

  • Pet friendly hotels outside of the evacuation zone
  • Pet boarding facilities outside of the evacuation zone
  • Boarding with a friend or family member outside of the evacuation zone.

Pet friendly facilities like hotels and boarding facilities often require proof of up-to-date vaccinations, so make sure to visit your vet at least yearly for routine checkups and vaccinations.

Talk to your local vet about your emergency plan. Your vet can help you identify veterinarians and veterinary hospitals in other locations where you may need to seek shelter and can help you determine what you should include in your pet’s go-bag.

Make sure your pet wears ID tags at all times, as a disaster could strike at any time. Keep addresses and phone numbers on tags current. Additionally, if your pet is not microchipped, talk to your vet about the possibility of microchipping. Microchips are small RFID implants that store your pet’s individual ID number. The ID number is linked to you, as the pet’s owner, in a database. Many databases also leave additional lines for additional emergency contacts. If you become separated from your pet during a disaster, microchipping is a valuable tool for returning your pet to you. This can be especially helpful if your pet loses their collar and ID tags in the event of a disaster. Make sure to keep all information in the microchip database current.

Should you be asked to evacuate during a disaster, follow emergency instructions and never leave your pet behind. Implement your evacuation plan and bring your pet to their evacuation location that you have identified in your emergency plan.

Have an Emergency Plan for your Livestock

For large animals including livestock, think through what you’ll do in the case of an emergency. Make sure that your plan includes a site map of your farm that indicates buildings and structures, access routes, blocked passages and barriers, locations of livestock and shelters, locations of hazardous substances (such as pesticides, fuel, etc.), and electrical shut-off locations.

It’s helpful to keep a stockpile of supplies on hand in case you are able to prepare such as:

  • Sandbags and plastic sheeting
  • Wire and ropes to secure objects
  • Lumber and plywood to protect windows
  • Extra food and water for livestock
  • Extra fuel for tractors and vehicles
  • Hand tools
  • Fire extinguishers
  • A gas-powered generator

If you have employees that work on your farm, review your emergency plan with them and make sure they are aware of where all supplies and animals are located at all times.

Make sure that you always have identifying information for your animals or livestock and that animals have identification on them.

If possible, plan to evacuate with your animals. Plan out routes and find vehicles and trailers to transport your animals and livestock. Don’t forget to ensure that your destination has food, water, handling equipment and veterinary care. Make sure to build a go-kit for your farm to bring with you, much as you would for your home. Include veterinarian information, insurance agent information and documentation of coverage, other important documentation, food, water, medication.

If you must shelter your animals in place, you may want to remove them from pastures and shelter them in a barn or other large structure if possible, providing them with feed and water. If you do so, make sure the shelter is free of neighboring debris, trees which can uproot easily, overhead powerlines, etc. In other cases, it may be best to let your livestock remain in pastures, as confinement in a shelter can take away the abilities of animals to protect themselves. Which open you choose may depend on the hazard and the severity. For potential flooding, make sure to relocate your animals to higher ground.

Since most large animals and livestock reside outside, don’t forget to consider extreme weather emergencies. In extreme cold, make sure that your animals and livestock have warm, dry bedding and plenty of food and water. Insulate the shelter from wind, snow and rain.

For more information on preparing your livestock for disasters, see the Humane Society’s Disaster preparedness page.

Create a Go-Bag for your Pet

Each of your pets should have their own go-bag in case you need to evacuate with your pet. Items to include in your emergency kit are:

  • Food and water, to sustain your pet for at least three days.
    • A manual can opener if your food is stored in cans.
    • Bowls for food and water.
    • Tip: Find collapsible bowls to save space in your go-bag.
    • Tip: Feed your pet moist or canned food to increase their water intake so they need less water to drink.
  • An extra leash and collar with ID tags that identify your pet, with your pet’s name, your name, and your emergency contact information engraved.
  • Medications and a first-aid kit.
  • Medical records, including vaccination history.
  • Important documents, including your pet’s microchip number and information.
  • A picture of you and your pet together.
  • A pet carrier or collapsible crate.
  • A life jacket for your pet, if you may be impacted by a flood or hurricane.
  • Information on where you may evacuate to, as well as the locations and phone numbers of anywhere where your pet may seek shelter: pet boarding facilities, pet friendly hotels, etc.
  • Sanitation, including litter (if appropriate), cleaning supplies, paper towels, trash bags, newspapers, etc.
  • Familiar items, such as small toys and bedding.

More Information May be Found By Clicking on this Link: Keeping Pets Safe & Secure at Home