Preparing for a Disaster
Before the Storm
- Be sure your pet is current on all vaccinations and store these in a water proof container.
- Have an ID microchip implanted between the pet’s shoulder blades .
- Have a current photograph of your pet (best if taken to include a family member) .
- Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal.
- If you plan to board or shelter your pet, work this into your evacuation route planning.
- Stock up on medications and pet food.
- Have a fully stocked first-aid kit.
If you stay at home
It is important to adequately plan for your pets even if you do not have to evacuate your home during a disaster. Carriers, collars with proper identification and leashes should be maintained for your pets at all times. Frightened animals may not act normally; approach and handle pets with caution.
Your pets will be most comfortable and secure in their carriers in a safe area of your home until the storm has
passed. If they are not secured during the storm and your house is damaged, your pets may escape and become disoriented. If your pets become lost, proper identification will help to ensure their return to you.
Remember – if you bring plants indoors before a storm, keep pets away from them. Many plants are poisonous.
Pet Survival Kit
Include the following in your pet survival kit:
- Collar with ID tags
- Sturdy leash
- Medical records and current vaccination information (in watertight containers)
- Pet medications and/or first-aid supplies
- Airline approved crate or carrier, with bedding, large enough for each pet. Should be large enough for pet to stand and turn around.
- Help your pet adjust to the carrier before the storm by placing it in the carrier along with a treat or toy.
- Start with short periods of time; then slowly increase the time.
- Two week supply of food (stored in water tight containers)
- Water (at least a 2-week supply)
- Manual can opener
- Food and water bowls
- Plastic trash bags to handle waste
- Treats and toys
- Emergency phone numbers for veterinarian, animal shelters and friends/relatives
- Photo of you with your pet (in water tight containers)
- Cleaning supplies (newspaper, plastic bags with ties, paper towels, disinfectant)
Pet Shelter Frequently Asked Questions
What pets are allowed in pet shelters?
Can I stay at the shelter with my pets?
Owners of pets are required to remain at the shelter and care for their pets.
What supplies must be brought to the shelter for my pets?
All pets must be in an airline approved carrier. Proof of all required vaccinations, food, a leash, a collar and supplies for proper waste disposal must be brought to the shelter.
Will I be able to take my pet outdoors or allow others to pet them?
Pets must remain inside an airline approved carrier at all times while inside the shelter buildings. Only the owners will be able to walk the pets outside or handle the animals.
Why are shelters for animals being provided?
Many citizens of Polk County live in mobile or manufactured housing, substandard housing, or in a flood prone area and must evacuate during a hurricane. Often these citizens have pets that are considered as part of the family and refuse to move to a safer location without taking their pets. Pet shelters offer a safer place for people not just pets.
What happens if a pet in the shelter is dangerous or bites someone?
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Division will manage the pet shelters and have Animal Control officers present. Pets must remain inside an airline approved carrier at all times while inside the shelter buildings. Pet owners acknowledge that any decision concerning the care and welfare of pets and the shelter population as a whole are within the sole discretion of the shelter staff, whose decisions are final. Failure to follow these rules may result in the removal of a pet from the shelter.
My pet has required vaccinations and has no fleas or ticks. What is being done to make sure all pets in the shelter don’t have fleas?
While we can not guarantee fleas or other parasites will not be passed among pets, pet owners must understand that if a pet becomes unruly, aggressive, shows signs of contagious disease, is infested with parasites (fleas, ticks, lice, etc.) or begins to show signs of stress-related conditions, their pet may be removed to a more remote location in the shelter or removed from the shelter.
I am not a pet owner can I go to the pet shelters?
Pet Shelters are primarily for pet owners who live in mobile or manufactured housing, substandard housing or in an area prone to flooding. Additional public shelters will be available in the County for those without pets. As in any other sheltering situation, residents are advised to consult the local media or Polk County Citizens Information Line (863) 401-2234 to ensure a specific shelter is open and operating before proceeding to that facility. Public shelters or pet shelters should be your last option if you must evacuate. Seek out family, friends, church members or others that do not have to evacuate as your first choice.
Does pre-registration guarantee space in the shelters?
Pre-registration is for planning purposes only. Pet owners will be required to complete and sign a Pet Shelter Agreement and complete other shelter registration process upon arrival at a shelter.