Everything you need to know about pet shelters this hurricane season

Updated: May. 30, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Hurricane season starts June 1st and along with having a plan for yourself, you want to also make a plan for your pet.

In Sarasota County, all 11 of the evacuation shelters will allow cats and dogs. In Manatee County, there are only three of their evacuation shelters will allow cats, dogs, and birds. But the shelters in Manatee County that allow pets will not open up all at once.

In order for a pet to be allowed in a shelter, you need to bring proof that they have been vaccinated. Your pet will need an ID collar and leash. It’s also required that your animal is brought in a crate, and you want to make sure that crate is large enough for them to move around in and put a litter box in.



Pet sheltering requirements and rules are important during disaster situations. Your cooperation in making a pet friendly shelter environment enjoyable is appreciated.

  • Pet(s) must arrive with a carrier or cage. Cages will not be available on site.
  • Pet(s) must remain in carrier (except at scheduled exercise times).
  • Owners must provide pet food and other pet supplies as needed.
  • Owners must provide certification that pet(s) are current with rabies vaccination
  • Owners will not permit other shelter occupants to handle or approach pet(s).
  • Owners are responsible for the care, feeding and handling of their own pet(s).


  • Proper ID collar and rabies license tag
  • Carrier or cage
  • Water and food bowls
  • Medications
  • Food supply to last about three days
  • Special care instructions
  • Newspapers/plastic bags for waste disposal
  • Toys and comfort items
  • Muzzles, if necessary
  • First aid supplies
  • Manual can opener
  • Proper ID on all belongings

Another important thing to pack is indoor pee pads. Lastly, make sure you have enough food and water to last your pet for at least two weeks.

Sarasota County's Emergency Management Chief, Ed McCrane, said pets will be kept separate from people in the shelters and there will be trained staff in the area with the animals.

"We try to keep the pets as separated from people as possible. So those who may have allergies for pets, it might be a good idea for them to seek shelter elsewhere. Friends or family. We can't guarantee you won't have a pet come across your path while you're in one of those evacuation centers," McCrane said.

It’s also recommended that your pet has a microchip if you plan to bring them to a shelter.

If you are searching for a pet-friendly hotel, here are a few links to get you started. You can always call the hotel brand of your choice to ask about their pet policy and if exceptions are made during an evacuation:



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