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Getting prepared for storms- don't forget your pets! | News

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Getting prepared for storms- don't forget your pets!
News, Pets, Weather
Getting prepared for storms- don't forget your pets!

Pinellas County, Florida -- When a storm comes to town residents are urged to evacuate with their pets.

Pinellas County pet owners have options when it comes to finding safe places to ride out a storm. 

The best and most comfortable option for Pinellas County pet owners is a home of a friend, relative or coworker who lives outside of the evacuation zone. Arrangements should be made well in advance of the arrival of a storm.

Although some hotels and motels accept pets, it is important to remember rooms in hotels and motels outside of affected areas book quickly. Residents are urged to call ahead to ensure rooms.

Pinellas County schools and Pinellas County government have three pet-friendly shelter locations. Residents are urged to consider these shelters as a last resort in the planning process. Residents must call (727) 582-2150 to preregister themselves and their pets for these pet-friendly shelters. Per federal law, service animals are allowed in any public shelter. Pet shelters accept only cats and dogs, and availability is limited. Mobile home residents are given first priority. The pet-friendly shelters are located at:

  • Oak Grove Middle School
    1370 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater
  • Thurgood Marshall Middle School
    3901 22nd Ave. S., St. Petersburg
  • Dunedin Middle School
    70 Patricia Ave., Dunedin

Horse and livestock owners need to have preparations in place well in advance. Pinellas County does not provide any public areas to leave these animals during evacuations so residents need to make arrangements to shelter their horses. The Sunshine State Horse Council has an informative web page that provides guidance on how to prepare your horse to weather the storm. Visit www.floridahorse.com/hurricane/hurricane.html for details. 

Animal shelters, such as Pinellas County Animal Services, the Humane Society and the SPCA, cannot accept pets during emergencies. However, these facilities will serve as important collection points for pets separated from their owners after the storm.

Some points to remember during evacuation:

  • Take your pet when you evacuate. Do not leave your pet at home.
  • If you cannot take your pet with you, ask friends or family living outside of evacuation areas if they can keep your pet.
  • Keep a pet carrier (portable kennel) for each pet - one that allows your pet to stand and turn around. The carrier should be marked with your pet’s identification.
  • Make sure all your pet’s vaccinations are current and have proof available of its current county-issued license.
  • If you use a kennel, make sure it is not in an evacuation zone and reserve space as soon as possible. Kennels require proof of vaccinations.

All Pinellas County pet owners need a pet hurricane preparation kit that includes food, water, dishes, favorite toys, kitty litter, newspapers, paper towels and medication. Additional tips on how to prepare your pets for emergencies can be found at www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/petpreparedness.htm

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