Ensure that your pet's vaccinations are current and take copies of your pet's vaccination papers. If you haven't done so, consider having a micro-chip implanted for positive identification. It's inexpensive and could make it so much easier to get her/him safely back home. Ask your veterinarian for information about micro-chipping. Make sure you have a list of your veterinarian's contact information, any additional pet identification information, such as your pet's full description that includes a picture of your pet.
Some shelters still DO NOT accept pets. It is best to plan ahead to make arrangements to stay with friends or family outside an evacuation zone who will ccommodate your pet. If that is not an option, some motels and hotels accept pets. ďIt really needs to be a last resort,Ē explains Welsh Agnew, director of veterinary services for Pinellas County. ďThere are clearly not enough spaces for all the pets, and itís going to be Spartan.Ē One option for locating a pet-friendly hotel is petswelcome.com. The Web site also allows users to book reservations. Another resource for locating pets is Tampa Bay SPCA or Pinellas County Animal Services.
Your pet will be in unfamiliar surroundings. Make certain to take your pet's crate or carrier and familiar items such as bedding or soft toys. Your pet may also benefit by having a sheet or blanket to cover the crate. Items like that allow your pet to take refuge and "hide" away by him/herself.
Kennels are another option, but these often fill up quickly. And they may be forced to close if they are in an evacuation zone. County shelters, such as animal services, Humane Society or the SPCA cannot take pets for safekeeping. They are normally full with abandoned pets and may need to reserve space for pets found after the hurricane passes.
Marti Ryan of Hillsborough County Emergency Services recommends that if you lose a pet, the Local Animal Control shelters usually are the agencies of record for tags and lost animals. Pet owners who only consult adoption agencies for lost pets could be wasting valuable time, energy, and emotion.
Never leave your pets in a bathroom while you evacuate. You wouldn't leave your child in a bathroom. In a worst-case scenario, you may not be allowed to come back home for day or weeks. Obviously, that could be a very dangerous ó potentially fatal ó situation if you pet is left behind to fend for herself, especially if your home is badly damaged and there is no electricity for air-conditioning or ventilation.
Use common sense and plan ahead for your pets while you're preparating to evacuate. Pinellas County animal services operations recommends that if you have to evacuate, pack up your pets and bring them with you.
The lessons of Charley, Francis, Wilma and Katrina prove the necessity of planning ahead for catastrophic conditions, to avoid problems as much as possible. Remember, your pets depend on you for their well-being. They don't have the ability to plan ahead, but you do.
A good resource for other suggestions is by pet-lifestyle expert Kristen Levine at Fetching Communications.
If you have large animals, such as horses or livestock, you will need to make different plans. A large pasture is the safest place for these animals.Avoid barbed wire or boards that can loosen and get blown about, or even provide an escape route for your livestock. Contact the Sunshine State Horse Council for a searchable database of evacuation sites. Before you transport your horses, make sure you pay close attention to weather advisories.
PET-FRIENDLY EVACUATION SHELTERS
Check the locations below in advance. Priority is given to those living in high-risk coastal areas and mobile homes. Reservations may be required, and space could be limited. Plan ahead. Space is limited and preregistration is required. A form using Adobe Reader can be found at Pinellas County Animal Services' website. Scroll down the page to Pet Shelters where you will also find other helpful information or you may call (727) 582-2150.
Hillsborough County ó You must register in advance at the shelter
Burnett Middle School, 1010 N. Kingsway Road, Seffner; to reserve space, call (813) 744-6745 or (813) 744-5660
Sickles High School, 7950 Gunn Highway, Tampa
Bartels Middle School, 9020 Imperial Oak Blvd., Tampa
Shields Middle School, 15732 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin
Pinellas County ó You must register in advance at the shelterFor information, call (727) 582-2150 or go to Pinellas County Animal Services, or contact the county where you live.
Oak Grove Middle School, 1370 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater
Dunedin Highland Middle School, 70 Patricia Avenue
Thurgood Marshall Middle School, 3901 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg
Other pet-friendly lodgings are can be found at www.petswelcome.com and www.spcatampabay.org
Patricia Calvert |
Consulting for Consumer & Trade Shows
P. O. Box 7223
St. Petersburg, FL 33734-7223 USA
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