As pet owners, we've got several responsible choices when a hurricane or severe weather threatens:
1: Keep them with us at home.
2: Take them with us to a pet-friendly motel or public shelter.
3: Board them in a hurricane safe kennel.
4: Road trip to Aunt Gabby's in Dayton. If you decide to stay, designate a "safe" room where pets can go, preferably without windows and solid walls. You'll need a preparedness kit for each pet.
Here's what FEMA recommends (in addition to proof of updated vaccinations):
- A leash with collar and ID
- Animal crate
- Two week supply of food, water and any medications.
- Don't forget towels to dry them off after a walk in the rain.
- If you have a cat, be sure to bring kitty litter and an appropriate container.
- Check around NOW for kennels that are hurricane safe (located inland, away from storm surge, with an independent power source). It might be smart to register with them ahead of time providing the latest vaccination and medical information.
- During the early signs of an approaching storm, make your reservations early because the kennels will fill up fast. The same goes for finding motels that are pet-friendly.
Here's an updated list (2014) of pet-friendly shelters on the Suncoast.
- Port Charlotte Middle School, 23000 Midway Blvd. in Port Charlotte. Only dogs and cats will be accepted and they must have current immunizations. The shelter is first come, first serve.
- Manatee County emergency officials will designate at least one pet-friendly shelter as shelters are opened. That location may vary depending on the emergency. Contact: 941-748-4501, or 941-749-3505.
- Sarasota County has four pet friendly shelters (not all shelters will be open during each emergency):
- North Port High School, 6400 W. Price Blvd., North Port
- Pine View School, 501 Old Venice Road, Osprey
- Heron Creek Middle School, 6501 West Price Blvd., North Port
- Brookside Middle School, 3636 South Shade Ave., Sarasota
- Hardee Junior High School, located at 200 South Florida Ave., in Wauchula. Pre-registration is required. To register call 863-773-6373.
- DeSoto County officials say there is NO pet-friendly shelter this year. Residents should make plans to evacuate to a pet friendly hotel or make arrangements at a local kennel.
Download the ABC 7 Hurricane Guide and save or print it for an offline reference.