Leaving home for a storm shelter used to mean extra hassle and worry for pet owners, but both Miami-Dade and Broward counties offer shelters that welcome pets as well as people.
There are two in Miami-Dade: the E. Darwin Fuchs Pavilion at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition Center, 10901 SW 24th St., can accommodate your crated cat, dog, small mammal or caged bird, and has a capacity of 350 people and 150 animals. And Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, 1410 County Line Rd., Miami, serves the northern part of the county, and has the same rules. There’s no need to preregister.
Broward County, however, requires pre-registration for the shelter at Millennium Middle School, 5800 NW 94th Ave., Tamarac: capacity 350 people and 500 animals — no reptiles. The Humane Society of Broward County, 2070 Griffin Rd., Dania Beach, handles pre-registration and logistics. For more information, call 954-989-3977 or visit www.humanebroward.com.
In all cases, dogs and cats must be wearing current county registration and vaccination tags.
“We’re not a resort; we’re the last resort,’’ said Cherie Wachter, spokesperson for Broward Humane. “And don’t wait to get an ID tag. That’s your lost pet’s ticket home.”
It’s a good time to get your pet ID microchipped, the only sure way to make sure he or she can be traced to you if you’re separated during a storm. And, said Wachter, if your pet is already chipped, check to make sure the chip information is correct by calling the service from which you bought it.
Also, assemble a pet disaster kit containing proper identification, including immunization records; food and water for several days; a carrier or cage; medication and bandages; muzzle, collar and leash for dogs; and photos of your pets in case you have to search for them.
A perennial warning from the ASPCA: “Do not leave your pets behind. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards.”
If you can’t be there for them, try to find someone willing to take them in. And if you must leave your animals home while you evacuate, put them in a room or area that’s solidly built, and preferably windowless.
Provide food, clean water and litter boxes to last for at least three days.