Several years ago, three major hurricanes grazed North Florida by either crossing the state or riding the coast up from South Florida. These hurricanes were Florence, Jeanne, and Ivan. Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding area, felt hurricane strength winds on two of the storms and wind gusts up to 75 miles per hour on the third. Many homes were evacuated in the area during all three storms. People felt their pets were safe at home, but later found out they had made a poor choice. Some homes were flooded and heavily damaged. There were reports of a few pets being hurt. So the North Florida area started a campaign to make sure people learned how to protect their pets in the event of a hurricane.
Authorities have now listed the steps a family should take in order to provide proper care for their pets during a hurricane or during any emergency that requires evacuation. The steps are included in this new advisory of how to prepare for the safety and or evacuation of your family pets.
1) Be sure and plan ahead. A last minute plan will surely fail. Think ahead as to what your pet might need. While a list of general items is listed below, each pet has different needs and different comfort foods, toys, or rituals. Also, be sure before any storm season that your pet has all his/her appropriate shots. Without these, your pet has to stay at home.
2) Prepare a pet emergency kit. This should include his rabies tag, his medical record showing his shots are up to date, a current photo of your pet, his food and water bowls, enough food and water for a few days, any of his medications, his toys, and a manual can opener for the dog or cat food.
3) Call ahead to see if the evacuation shelter accepts pets. If not, call your local animal shelter or veterinarian office. Most of these in the North Florida area have agreed to take animals once an evacuation order is established. Most pet friendly shelters will accept all pets except for snakes and spiders. Also, many shelters also do not allow any lizards. So your pet iguana will have to rough out the storm at your house or a friends house in a safe location. Remember to pre register at your local pet friendly shelter, animal shelter or veterinarian. They try to take as many animals as they can, but when space is filled up, they will cut off their acceptance of animals.
We all have heard the horror stories of what happened to pets during Hurricane Katrina. I believe it has made us all aware of the necessity of providing proper care for the furry members of our families during a hurricane. They deserve the same treatment that you would give your loved ones. But be sure and plan in advance and call your local evacuation shelter to make sure your pet will be taken care of. Hopefully, with these suggestions, Fido and Fluffy will remains safe should a hurricane visit your area.