It’s never too early to plan ahead…
June 1st to November 30th is hurricane season, but hurricanes aren’t the only disaster that could strike. Being prepared for any disaster or emergency situation is key to getting through it with as little stress to you and your pets as possible.
One thing to keep in mind during a disaster or emergency is to never leave your pet behind, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for them. Asides from the legal repercussions from leaving your pet behind (abandonment), you may not be able to get back to your pet if the roads are impassable or if your home is damaged during the event, your pet could escape and become lost or injured.
Be sure to bring your pets indoors during times of extreme weather. Extreme weather includes, but is not limited to, hurricanes, tropical storms, temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index of 100 and temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit with a 35 degree wind chill factor.
Sheltering At Home During A Storm
If your home is a safe place during a storm and officials have not ordered you to evacuate, you and your pet should stay at home until the storm passes. Be sure you have enough supplies for you and your pet during and after the storm. Ensure your pet has identification securely attached to their collar in the event they escape outdoors during the storm.
Sheltering Elsewhere During A Storm
Family and friends: If you are ordered to evacuate or do not feel safe in your home, your first option should be to go with your pets to a family member or friend’s home located in a safe area until the danger is passes. Bring emergency supplies for you and your pets and make sure you call in advance to make sure your pets are welcome.
Hotels: A secondary option is to make arrangements at a pet friendly hotel located outside of the projected impact area. Select several hotels in advance and call to confirm their pet policies. Hotels tend to fill up quickly once a storm is approaching so make a reservation as soon as you think evacuation is imminent. You can search for a pet friendly hotel through the following websites:
County’s Pet Friendly Shelter (PFS): St. Lucie County residents are eligible to use the pet friendly shelter located at Westwood High School located at 1801 Panther Lane, Ft. Pierce. The PFS should be utilized as a last resort and space is limited. Pre-registrations is strongly encouraged but is not required. You can pre-register for the PFS by clicking the link below:
You are responsible for bringing all necessary pet supplies and will be responsible for caring for your pet while at the PFS during allocated times. Pets may not be dropped off at the PFS while you evacuate the area, this would be considered abandonment of an animal and charges may be filed.
Due to State health and safety regulations, humans and pets are not allowed to be sheltered in the same room, therefore, animals and humans are housed in separate buildings. Once the pet has been registered and housed at the PFS, owners must report to the “people section” to allow other pet owners to register and house their pets. All animals will are kept in carriers/crates during their stay at the PFS. Dog owners will be able to take their dogs out for brief potty walks during an allotted time schedule for safety purposes. Due to the nature of disasters, spending time or socializing with your pet once at the shelter may be very limited. This helps reduce the possibility of accidental bites or scratches from occurring which would result in a 10 day quarantine of the animal at the Humane Society of St. Lucie County or veterinary clinic during the disaster at the expense of the owner as quarantined animals would not be permitted to stay at the PFS for safety purposes.
Your disaster supply kit that you will need to bring with you the PFS should include:
- 3 day supply of pet food and water
- Pet food/water bowls
- Can opener and spoon (if applicable for your pet)
- Pet medications and pet first kit
- Vaccination records; animals MUST be current and up to date on their rabies vaccination in order to stay at the PFS (proof is required)
- Pet carrier/crate
- Dogs must be on a leash (retractable leases discouraged due to safety reasons) and collar/harness
- Pet identification tag
- Photo of you with your pet
- Blankets, toys and treats
- Cat litter and litter box
- Paper towels and plastic bags
- Doggie pee pads or newspaper
Your pet first aid kit should include:
- Gauze pads, rolls & veterinary elastic wrap
- Calamine lotion & petroleum jelly
- Digital rectal thermometer
- Blunt-end scissors, tweezers & pliers
- Antibiotic creams & antiseptic solutions safe for pets
- Blankets, towels & pillows
- Tube socks for placing over an injured paw