Hurricane evacuation for pets

 Hurricane season starts June 1 and Bobbie Shute, president of Animal Advocates of Pearl River County, encourages everyone to include preparations for pet safety in their evacuation plans.

“There are many things that you can do to prepare for pet safety during dangerous weather,” Shute said. “The most important thing is that people not assume their pets will be fine if left outside. Outside is not the place for pets during dangerous weather.”

Shute said if pets must be left behind, try to arrange suitable care and shelter for them and have these plans worked out in advance of a potential evacuation.

AAPRC Vice President Martha Ford suggests pet owners search for animal friendly hotels ahead of time that are situated along evacuation routes.

“Everyone needs to have pet identification tags with your current contact information on them,” Ford said. “Just having the name of the pet on the front of the tag doesn’t help if the pet gets separated from you.”

Just as someone might have a bag with clothes and necessities packed to evacuate, having a ready bag prepared for your pets with medication, food and bottled water will be a big help if evacuation is required, Ford said.

“After Katrina, people heading north took the first Picayune exit for water for their animals, and I allowed the ones who came to my office to use my faucet,” Ford said. “I had a steady stream of people who stopped to provide water for their pets.”

Shute and Ford recommend packing a three-day supply of food and water for their pets.

For more information on tips to prepare your pets for hurricane evacuation or to find out more about Animal Advocates of Pearl River County, call either Bobbie Shute at (601) 463-0174 or Martha Ford at (601) 590-2988.

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