Three school shelters labeled as pet-friendly

Owners are warned that the allotted spaces should be used only as a last resort.

Published March 27, 2007

With hurricane season approaching, animal owners will have new options for protecting their beloved pets from howling wind and flying wreckage.

The Pinellas County School Board has named three locations pet-friendly shelters for 2007. Two are in North Pinellas - Clearwater and Dunedin - and a third is in St. Petersburg.

The move will increase the number of spots for pets to an estimated 700, which is 50 percent more than what was available last year, said Welch Agnew, Pinellas County's assistant director of veterinary services.

Still, Agnew urged owners to seek out other alternatives.

"It really needs to be a last resort," he said of the shelters. "There are clearly not enough spaces for all the pets. And it's going to be spartan."

The designated schools are Oak Grove Middle School, 1370 S Belcher Road, Clearwater; Dunedin Highland Middle School, 70 Patricia Ave., Dunedin, and Thurgood Marshall Middle School, 3901 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

They will replace two locations, one in Palm Harbor, the other in St. Petersburg, that served as pet shelters during the 2006 hurricane season.

To gain access to the pet shelters, owners must register in advance for the 2007 hurricane season, even if they were registered last year. And space is limited. Priority is given to those living in high risk, coastal areas and mobile home parks.

You can register by going to www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices or calling 727 582-2150.

A clean, well-ventilated gymnasium at each location will be provided for owners. Pets will be housed inside owner-provided carriers in adjacent locker rooms.

Though pet food is provided, owners should not show up unprepared. They must bring their animals in a suitable carrier and provide any needed pet medication.

Hurricane season begins June 1.

Will Van Sant can be reached at vansant@sptimes.com or 445-4166.

Fast Facts:


Register your pet

To register, go to www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices or call (727) 582-2150.