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If You Go, They Go: Protect Pets From The Next Storm

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You have may heard – it’s Hurricane Season!

Most of us have plans in place if a storm should come, but does that include what to do with a pet?

We took a trip to the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County to find out.

ID: I’m Ilka Daniel and I am the Director of Animal Protective Services

WA: I’m Will Anzenberger. I am the Director of Development & Marketing.

We ask them to give us some tips on how to make sure our four-legged loved ones stay safe through a storm.

WA: “IF YOU GO THEY GO”… So the notion is if you have to really get up and go in the next 15 minutes, you are not going to be able to think about what to grab, so now is the time to put that kit together. And to always update it.

He’s talking about a TO GO kit for your pet. Get a backpack and fill it with your pet’s ID, food, water, medicine, first aid supplies, and booties for walking in rough terrain or water. You will also want to include vaccination certificates, a pet carrier and if you have a cat, a litter pan. Think about a life jacket or even a float you can push them in on top of water if you have to wade through it.

WA: If you take a half hour now when there is no threat of a hurricane, you’ll be set when you just need to get and go. And have it where you literally are grabbing it as you are heading out the door or it’s already in the trunk of your car.

ID: The very, very, very first thing that we’ve learned from responding to disasters all over the country is if your pet doesn’t have any identification on it, we can’t get it back to you. We like two forms of identification – the internal microchip that can’t be tampered with and also the Pet ID because there is nothing worse than getting separated from your pet in a disaster situation and a shelter winds up with a pet – we know its owned – but we have no way of contacting an owner.

You’ll also want to have a few plans in place ahead of time.

ID: Plan A is shelter in place if it’s safe. Plan B is going to be a destination someplace else, whether it be a hotel or whether it be friends.

Questions to ask now: What hotels accept pets? Are your friends allergic to animals? And if so, is there a boarding facility in that town? Plan on traveling about 100-150 miles and determine now where you will be staying. Despite a lot of misinformation, hotels are not required to take animals, so you need to do your research NOW.

ID: Plan C is always an alternate location.

That’s in case the storm shifts.

Locally, you should also look into shelters.

ID: We are one of the only counties on the east coast of Florida that has a pet-friendly shelter where people can go with their pets. It is a shelter of last resort for people. We have over 80,000 companion animals in Indian River County and our pet-friendly shelter only holds 400.

The Humane Society as well as the county’s Emergency Operations Center websites list everything you need to know about these shelters.

In addition to hurricanes, you should have plans in place for fires, hazmat situations, gas leaks. Have a plan in place so you can quickly evacuate and keep that TO GO kit handy!

ID: Our goal is to keep animals and people together. Because we did learn in Hattiesburg and in Louisiana from the hurricanes that when they separated the people and the animals it was a travesty.

Daniel will come out to your community to give lessons on Disaster Preparedness.

Learn more here:  www.humanesociety.org/resources/make-disaster-plan-your-pets