Find a refuge for pets long before storms threaten

By Times Staff
Published April 17, 2005

If you must evacuate, don't leave your pet behind. Most emergency shelters don't permit pets, so you might have to turn to friends or family for help. Make these arrangements before the hurricane season.

If your pet doesn't already have an implanted microchip, get that done now. If your cat or dog becomes lost during a hurricane, a microchip offers a better chance he or she will be returned.

Some local kennels accepted pets during last summer's hurricanes, but many were booked and others were facing evacuation. Area animal shelters do not accept pets during hurricanes. Some veterinarians will board animals during a hurricane. Now is a good time to find out what's available.

A partial listing of pet-friendly hotels can be found at www.petswelcome.com

After a storm, keep your pet inside or on a short leash outside. It's easy for animals to become disoriented, and there will be lots of unusual smells and things to explore that may be hazardous.

Wild animals may be displaced by the storm and may wander into residential areas. Keep your pet away from them. Don't allow your pet to walk through puddles or to play in creeks or gutters. The water may be energized by downed power lines or may contain backed-up sewage. The current may be swift enough to knock down or drown an animal.

The ground may be covered with broken glass, sharp branches and other hazardous items. Keep your pet away from them.