Pet shelters

In case of a hurricane, pet-friendly storm shelters

ebrecher@miamiherald.comJune 5, 2013 

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** FILE ** Pfc. Ricardo Whitaker, with the North Carolina National Guard, of Bladenboro, N.C., lifts a dog into a military truck near Tick Bite, N.C., Saturday, Sept.18, 1999, after he rescued it from flood waters caused by Hurricane Floyd. When Hurricane Floyd struck eastern North Carolina with weeks-long flooding in September 1999, more than 3 million of its victims had four legs or feathers. Emergency agencies, farmers and animal welfare workers realized that, in an area where disaster takes as great atoll on pets and livestock as people, an action plan is critical, one that can handle a flood as easily as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or a bioterrorist attack. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)

BOB JORDAN — AP file

  • Planning for your pets • The National Hurricane Center gives detailed information on how to handle animals before, during and after a storm. Visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php. The site links to the Humane Society of the United States, which offers tips for barnyard animals as well as pets, http://www.humanesociety.org/about/departments/disaster_preparedness.html, and FEMAToolsMeasureOptions/caring-animals. • For information about safeguarding pets during storm season, visit the ASPCA site at aspca.org. Petsitters International also offers a list of resources: petsit.com/disaster-preparedness-resources. • For pet-friendly lodgings, try petswelcome.com, or dogfriendly.com. Be aware that pet-friendly hotels often have a size limit and require a damage deposit. • To find a South Florida boarding kennel outside mandatory evacuation zones, try findpetcare.com. • To find a boarding veterinary hospital in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, try www.sfvma.com, the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association site. In Broward, try browardcountyvma.org, the Broward County Veterinary Medical Association site. • If your pet gets lost during a storm: contact Broward County Animal Care and Regulation Division at 954-359-1313; Humane Society of Broward County at 954-989-3977; Miami-Dade Animal Services at 305-884-1101, or 311; Humane Society of Greater Miami at 954-463-4870.

Leaving home for a storm shelter used to mean extra hassle and worry for pet owners, but both Miami-Dade and Broward counties offer shelters that welcome pets as well as people.

There are two in Miami-Dade: the E. Darwin Fuchs Pavilion at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition Center, 10901 SW 24th St., can accommodate your crated cat, dog, small mammal or caged bird, and has a capacity of 350 people and 150 animals. And Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, 1410 County Line Rd., Miami, serves the northern part of the county, and has the same rules. There’s no need to preregister.

Broward County, however, requires pre-registration for the shelter at Millennium Middle School, 5800 NW 94th Ave., Tamarac: capacity 350 people and 500 animals — no reptiles. The Humane Society of Broward County, 2070 Griffin Rd., Dania Beach, handles pre-registration and logistics. For more information, call 954-989-3977 or visit www.humanebroward.com.

In all cases, dogs and cats must be wearing current county registration and vaccination tags.

“We’re not a resort; we’re the last resort,’’ said Cherie Wachter, spokesperson for Broward Humane. “And don’t wait to get an ID tag. That’s your lost pet’s ticket home.”

It’s a good time to get your pet ID microchipped, the only sure way to make sure he or she can be traced to you if you’re separated during a storm. And, said Wachter, if your pet is already chipped, check to make sure the chip information is correct by calling the service from which you bought it.

Also, assemble a pet disaster kit containing proper identification, including immunization records; food and water for several days; a carrier or cage; medication and bandages; muzzle, collar and leash for dogs; and photos of your pets in case you have to search for them.

A perennial warning from the ASPCA: “Do not leave your pets behind. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards.”

If you can’t be there for them, try to find someone willing to take them in. And if you must leave your animals home while you evacuate, put them in a room or area that’s solidly built, and preferably windowless.

Provide food, clean water and litter boxes to last for at least three days.

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