"Hurricane Safety for Pets" from Broward County Animal Care

Hurricane Safety Tips For Owners of Small and Large Animals
-- Preparation and Planning are Key to Your Pet's Survival --
DATE: June 11, 2010
MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Mendheim, Broward County Animal Care and Regulation
PHONE: 954-359-1010
EMAIL: lmendheim@broward.org

Hurricane season is here and Broward County Animal Care and Regulation reminds all pet owners to prepare to safeguard your pets and large animals before, during and after a hurricane.

"Preparation and planning are important for any family," said Lisa Mendheim, public education coordinator, Broward County Animal Care, "but it becomes particularly important to plan when you are responsible for pets, horses and other large animals."

For cat and dog owners, Broward County Animal Care recommends that a Pet Survival Kit be prepared using a waterproof covered container. The kit should include:

• Food and water for two weeks
• Extra leashes and collars
• Cat litter
• Puppy training pads in case your dog cannot go outside due to severe weather
• Cleaning supplies
• A crate or carrier large enough for the animal to stand and turn around
Toys and/or blankets
• Copies of your pet's rabies certificate and Broward County license

"As always, be sure that your pet is current on its vaccinations and that it is wearing its Broward County license on a secure collar. The license is the easiest way we have to identify your pet in case it gets lost," said Mendheim. "Additionally, whether you evacuate or remain at home, it is important that you stay with your pet through the storm. Abandoning your pet is not an option," emphasized Mendheim. "It is cruel and against the law."
If you live in an evacuation zone and plan to stay at a shelter, Millennium High School in Broward County is the only shelter that will accept pet owners and their pets. Residents must pre-register with the Humane Society of Broward County by calling 954-989-3977. All pets must be current with their rabies vaccination and licensed.

For residents who plan to stay at a hotel/motel, reservations should be made early. For a list of pet-friendly Web sites, visit www.broward.org/animal. Click on the link for PET HURRICANE INFORMATION.
Safeguarding Large Animals

Safeguards must also be taken for owners of large animals. As with cats and dogs, be sure to make plans prior to the arrival of a storm. A supply of water (20 gallons per day) and enough food to last for two weeks must be stored. Horses should also wear a leather halter and a band with the owner's name, address and phone number printed in permanent ink. As an additional precaution, the owner's phone number can be spray painted on the side of the horse.

If a Category 1 or 2 storm is predicted, horses will be protected in a sturdy stable or barn. Check to ensure that the roof and walls of the structure are secure. In the event of Category 3 or 4 storms, horses may be left in an open area with a strong, stable fence. The area must be free of debris and overhead power lines. If a Category 5 storm is predicted, evacuation is strongly recommended.

For more information regarding pet and large animal preparedness, contact Broward County Animal Care at 954-359-1010 or visit www.broward.org/animal.

Top Ten Tips for Pet and Large Animal Owners

Whether you are the proud owner of a dog, cat or a horse, preparations must be made to ensure it survives the storm. 

  1. Make sure your pet has all of its proper vaccinations and a Broward County pet license. In Broward County, the law requires that all dogs and cats have a current rabies vaccination and a pet license. Horse owners must have proof of a negative Coggins test with them at all times as well as current health records. Note: Shelters, kennels, hotels and stables will not accept your pet or horse without proper documentation.
  2. Keep current identification on your pet (this also includes indoor cats). A County license, name tag, microchip or tattoo are all ways your pet can be identified if it becomes lost. Horses should wear a band around their neck or braided in their tail with your name, address and phone number written with permanent ink. Another option is to spray paint the side of the horse with your phone number.
  3. Keep an adequate supply of food and water (a two week's supply is recommended).
  4. For dog owners, set aside an area of the house so the dog can go to the bathroom when the weather becomes too severe to go outside. Have on hand cleaning products and puppy training pads or newspapers.
  5. If your pet is on medication, make sure you have an adequate supply of medicine on hand. Under no circumstances should you tranquilize your pet or large animal during a storm! They will need to use all of their survival instincts.
  6. Make sure you have a copy of all of your animal's documents and medical records in a sturdy plastic bag so they do not get wet.
  7. Take a picture of you and your pet together (this helps prove the pet is yours). Also, take a picture of your dog, cat or horse by itself. Be sure to photograph any distinguishing marks that will help with identification.
  8. For dog and cat owners, you must stay with your pet. Abandonment is against the law.
  9. For horse owners, do not stay with your horse unless you have made plans to evacuate. For Category 1 storms, horses may stay in a sturdy barn or stable. In the case of a strong storm, large animals are safer in a large, open pasture with plenty of room to move around.
  10. Plan! Plan! Plan! Pay attention to the weather and plan ahead of time whether you will evacuate or stay home. Reservations at shelters, kennels, hotels and stables must be made in advance, so make your storm decisions early - your animals are depending on you.
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