Crime Watch

Crime Watch: Miami-Dade County has two hurricane shelters that accept pets


Special to The Miami Herald

Since we are in hurricane season, I thought to share some information from our partners at Miami-Dade County’s 311 Center. Many of you remembered from last year that I wrote about pets and hurricanes. So below are just a few of the things you need to be aware of. For more detailed information go to

Pet-friendly evacuation centers accept more than just cats and dogs. They also accept birds, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats and rabbits (small-sized, under 10 pounds, such as California or Dutch breeds).

Please bring the following items to the shelter:

• A valid photo identification and recent utility bill showing current address for adult registrant.

• All personal hygiene items, medications and bedding supplies for each member of the family staying with the pet, as well as three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for each member of the family.

• A three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for each pet (since some pets only eat certain types of food that may not be available at the shelter).

• Appropriate bowls or dishes for each pet’s food and water.

• An appropriate crate or cage for each pet, including bedding and a sheet or other covering material for each crate to reduce stress on the animal.

• A secure collar and sturdy leash for each dog as well as any medication your pet needs.

Upon arrival at the pet shelter, all animals will be examined but not vaccinated or offered medical treatment by a licensed veterinarian to determine if the animal presents a safety risk. All proof of vaccinations must be presented at this time. Animals must be clean and healthy. Any animal deemed a risk will not be allowed to enter the shelter.

At least one family member must remain in the evacuation center with the pet. The pet-friendly evacuation center is NOT a drop off facility to board the pet during the storm.

It is within the county’s sole discretion to determine whether any pet will be accepted at the Pet-Friendly Evacuation Center. Pet owners must be prepared to care for and maintain control over their pets at all times. In order to avoid injury to people from anxious or aggressive pets, owners are required to muzzle aggressive or anxious pets. Pets that become a threat to responders or the public will be placed under the control of an animal control officer.

Owners present at shelter locations shall remain with their pets in the area of the shelter designated for pet care.

Service animals are permitted in all types of hurricane or disaster shelters including the general population shelters managed by the American Red Cross, the Special Needs Shelters and the pet-friendly shelters.

Pet owners residing in qualified evacuation zones, unsafe structures or mobile homes can participate in the Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers. Pre-registration for the pet friendly evacuation centers is no longer required. There are currently two centers that accept families with their pets during emergencies:

• E. Darwin Fuchs Pavilion in the Tamiami Fairgrounds,10901 SW 24th St. (Coral Way) in West Miami-Dade.

• Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, 1410 County Line Road in Northeast Miami-Dade.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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