Plan now for your pet's safety during a storm. If you live in an evacuation zone, you will be required to leave, no matter how many pets you own.
Red Cross emergency shelters don't accept animals, except for service animals such as a seeing-eye dog. Only two shelters in Miami-Dade County and one in Broward County will accept pets and their owners, but space is limited and you must register in advance.
PLACES TO STAY
In southwestern Miami-Dade, the Sunshine Pavilion on the grounds of the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition, 10901 SW 24th St., Miami, accepts pets.
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In northern Miami-Dade, registered residents and their pets can evacuate to Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, 1410 NE 215th St., Aventura.
In order to shelter a pet, you must pre-register by calling 3-1-1 or downloading an application at www.miamidade.gov/animals/disaster_preparedness.asp. You must provide proof of residency within an evacuation zone, and present medical and current vaccination records for each pet.
Pet owners must bring supplies for themselves and their pet. Limit is four pets per household. A family member must remain in the pet-friendly shelter with the animal.
Miami-Dade's pet-friendly shelter accepts dogs, cats, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice/rats, rabbits (under 10 pounds, such as California or Dutch breeds), ferrets and birds.
In Broward, residents of an evacuation area can relocate to a pet-friendly shelter at Millenium Middle School, 5803 NW 94th Ave., Tamarac.
The shelter will house pets in one area of the school and their owners in a separate area. The pet owner must stay in the shelter and cannot just drop off the pet. The American Red Cross will run the shelter section for the pet owners and the Humane Society of Broward County will be responsible for the pet section.
Because of space limitations, those who want to use the shelter during declared emergencies must pre-register in person.
Registration begins June 8 at the Humane Society, 2070 Griffin Rd., Fort Lauderdale (one block west of I-95) and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Call 954-989-3977 for information.
MORE THINGS TO DO
Find out now if your veterinarian has boarding facilities or other arrangements for keeping animals, and make an appointment to inspect the kennel. Inquire about staff and security. If you are satisfied with the facilities, arrange now to board your cat or dog in case of emergency.
If a hurricane approaches, call to confirm the arrangement.
Make arrangements to take your pet with you to a friend's or family member's house or to a hotel outside an evacuation zone. A list of pet-friendly hotel chains is at petswelcome.com or dogfriendly.com. The Broward Humane Society has a list at showyourhumaneside.compethotels.html.
Buy a pet carrier slightly larger than your pet needs, in case a boarding facility is full. Take an extra bag of dry food and a water container with your pet's name and any pet medications.
If you don't have to evacuate, make sure you have at least two weeks' worth of pet food, clean water and medication. Gather vaccination histories in case officials call for immunization information.
Bring all pets indoors before a storm approaches. Never leave a house pet outside or tied up during a storm.
Make sure pets wear secure collars with ID. Carry photos of pets with owner (to prove that you are the pet's owner) in case they are lost.
Have a familiar blanket or toy on hand for each animal.
Aquarium owners may want to buy a batter-operated aerator or a small generator to run the air pump if power fails.
Read up on what you might need to treat wounds, shock or other injuries. After the storm, prevent your pets from roaming. They could get lost or consume contaminated food or water.
If you have to evacuate and must leave your animals at home, put them in the most secure room, along with litter boxes, dry food and plenty of water. Separate the dogs from the cats. But remember, leaving your pets alone is an absolute last resort.
If your pet is lost, call Miami-Dade's Answer Center at 311 or 305-468-5900 (TDD 305-468-5402). In Broward, call the Animal Care and Regulation Division at 954-359-1313.