Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
Send news

News tags

mental health  physical activity  earthquake  vacancies  families  public health  children  funding  poverty  health determinants  social  Community development  planning  employment  healthy cities  volunteers  newsletter  youth  volunteering  nutrition  employment opportunity  housing  alcohol and drugs  maori  community engagement  rebuilding  wellbeing  disabilities  Lectures  counselling  Training  earthquake recovery  sustainability  event  community gardens  Community  seminar  Awards  stress  Community Groups  mens health  research  arts  smokefree  culture  men  exercise  migrants  community event  education  environment  resilience  human rights  health  medical  business  sport  conferences  survey  mental wellbeing  Courses  obesity  elderly  support group  environmental health  healthy food  health promotion  violence  pacific health  resources  rebuild  women  race relations  meeting  gardens  workshop  services  leadership  forum  water  disabled  repair  transport  prevention  pacific  dance  fundraising  asian health  sexual health  inequality  cancer  support  disasters  development  mindfulness  dementia  presentation  collaboration  health in all policies  data analysis  recovery  smoking  law  drugs and alcohol  technology  safety  cycling  Sleep  policy  parenting  media  hearing  walking  land  neighbours  social justice  qualification  resilient cities  information  community connection  consultation  oral health  bullying  depression  youth empowerment  young people  activities  non-profit  charity  harm  NURSES  addiction  disease  Communication  alcohol  symposium  submission  anxiety  accessibility  Relationships  eating  economics  Advocacy  eLearning  falls  parking  energy  efficiency  heating  insulation  advice  Eating Disorders  abuse  waste  Matariki  webinar  diabetes  workplace  Film  Climate Change  solutions  urban  management  economy  plan  restoration  Report  Vulnerability  welfare  parks  learning  awareness  emergencies  legislation  injury prevention  reading  Meeting Room  conservation  language  refugees  recreation  built environment  data  venue  urban design  Food  older people  finances  suicide  heritage  gender  recycling  breastfeeding  public  identity  Nursing  submissions  Rainbow  biodiversity  campaign  promotion  Gut Health  diversity  therapy  older adults  sexuality  computing  pollution  School Holidays  Arts Therapy  providers  gambling  Maori health  Cervical cancer  screening  trauma  autism  Governance  treaty of waitangi  care  mentoring  pets  relaxation  Professional Development  pornography  exhibition  history  discrimination  vaping  equity  lockdown  grief  rural  hygiene  participation  tourism  summer  intervention  warning  podcast  science  petition  swimming  roadworks  traffic  wildlife  beaches  pools  immunisation  vaccination  brain  preparation  open day  market  evaluation  noise  music  property  testing  crafts  CALD  cultural diversity  camping  creativity  child health  tamariki  climate action  refugee  migrant  community events  road safety  library  Hornby  skills  placemaking  regenerative communities  journey  reflection  regional council  councillors  water management  emergency management  retirement  stress management  Christmas  family  festival  alcohol harm  waterways  planting  health protection  legionnaire's disease  hepatitis  heatwaves  river beds  water safety  fishing  gardening  workshops  stormwater  biosecurity  volunteer  plant and animal pest management  politics  faith  crime  drugs  pregnancy  native birds  Waimakariri  water quality  schools  early childhood  health professionals  heart disease  kura  school  ethical issues  rangatahi  Linwood  running  donations  whanau  financial pressures  online  health professional  flooding  conflict  peace  winter 

Animal welfare still an issue after quakes

Wednesday, February 18, 2015   Posted in: Earthquake By: Administrator With tags: earthquake, earthquake recovery, emergencies

University of Canterbury media release: 18 February 2015

 Associate Professor Annie Potts.The repercussions of the earthquakes that struck Canterbury four years ago could still be having a detrimental effect on the city’s animals, according to University of Canterbury’s Associate Professor Annie Potts.

Professor Potts – who has co-authored a new book published by Canterbury University Press, Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes, withformer veterinary nurse Donelle Gadenne, both researchers at UC’s New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies – says many welfare issues still remain after the quakes.

Professor Potts says issues include difficulties for families with animals in finding rental accommodation, ongoing anxiety among pet-owners and their animals, and loud noises and changed routines due to the city’s rebuild.

“Four to five years following disaster trauma some people go into a new phase of emotional exhaustion, anxiety and depression. Because our companion animals, especially dogs perhaps, are sensitive to a guardian’s anxiety, they are likely to feel anxious too. Even if you feel upset yourself, it’s very important to maintain a daily routine for your pet so they can feel all is well,” she says.   

“It’s really important to acknowledge your own feelings of anxiety or stress, and not unconsciously believe your pet is causing you to feel anxious because he or she is acting upset. It’s more likely they are picking up on your emotions, rather than the other way around. Be sure to do something to help yourself at this stage.”

Professor Potts says people should also be aware of how to reduce the impact of the rebuild on their pets.

“At the moment where I live we’ve had 18 months of constant building noise on both sides of our home, as people’s homes are fixed or rebuilt – these noises are upsetting to dogs, cats and birds, and people should be aware of this if they are out all day at work leaving animals at home to endure the loud bangs and drills of construction sites,” she says. 

“Leave a radio on for your animals to lessen the sounds of building outside. Maybe give your dogs a break from the relentless noise by taking them to doggie day care facilities once in a while, and walk them somewhere peaceful each day, if you can.”

Co-author of Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes, and former vet nurse, Donelle Gadenne says many animals still exhibit behaviours that suggest the trauma they experienced during the events four years ago remains with them.

“Psychological trauma in companion animals can take various amounts of time to resolve, depending on the degree of stress the animal went through and the individual animal’s ability to cope. Of course, managing and treating psychological problems in pets is something that can and should be treated with the help of a trusted vet,” Donelle says.

Professor Potts says the emotional issues and practical stressors that impact on families in normal times take more of a toll in the aftermath of disaster, especially a few years on when “things are supposed to be better” but they feel much worse.

“Incidences of domestic violence are linked to increased pressure within families; and domestic violence is also closely linked to abuse of animals within violent households. This is something we need to be very mindful of and act to reduce four years on from the quakes,” she said.

Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes, explores the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes on a variety of species, using heartfelt animals stories, and the lessons we can learn in animal welfare from the natural disaster. It focuses on animal welfare in emergencies and includes guidelines on how people can protect their animals. It also provides important information on ensuring safety and welfare of different species during natural disasters.  

Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes, by Annie Potts and Donelle Gadenne, published by Canterbury University Press, November 2014, RRP $39.99, Paperback, 288 pp, ISBN: 978-1-927145-50-0.

For more information please contact:

  • Associate Professor Annie Potts (03 364 2987 ext. 8231 or annie.potts[at]
  • Author and former vet nurse Donelle Gadenne (021 209 4798 or donellegadenne[at]
  • Canterbury University Press Publicist Renee Jones (03 364 2987 ext. 6072 or