Information About Pets and Pet Shelters Plan Your Escape Strategy—And Don’t Forget Your Pet | Guide to hurricanes


There are many ways to be prepared to keep your pet safe in an emergency. The first thing to do is get your pet microchipped – don’t wait for a storm to approach. Hurricane Katrina displaced over 8,000 animals; most of them have never been reunited with their owners. Nationally microchipping and registering your pet is the only positive way to identify an animal without being physically present to identify it.

If you plan to shelter your pet, incorporate it into your escape route planning. In the event of a disaster, the animal shelter will be located at Lecanto Elementary School. Dogs (80 pounds or less), cats and birds are welcome. The cage is available for dogs and cats; However, if you have an avian friend, you must provide a cage. All animals must be up to date with their departmental license and their vaccines: Rabies, DHLPP for dogs and rabies, RCPC for cats. You must bring this information with you. You can pre-register your animal(s) to stay at the shelter by completing the online registration form available on the Citrus County Animal Services website: www.citruscritters.com

Here is a list of what you will need before heading to the Citrus County Pet Shelter:

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  • Have a leash and a collar or halter with ID tags for most animals. (Animals, such as birds and some reptiles that cannot have identification on their body must have appropriate identification on their cage in case of separation.)
  • Provide a portable support in which the animal can easily move.
  • Since the animal may have to live in the carrier for several days, make sure it is large enough for the animal to stand up, stretch and turn around. For cats, the transport cage must be able to contain a small litter box while leaving room for the cat to move around.
  • Provide water in gallon-sized plastic containers, dry pet food, and food dishes. There should be a 1-2 week supply of food and water for the animal.
  • Include a supply of regular medications for the pet, such as heartworm medication and flea prevention products.
  • Have up-to-date health records on hand, including vaccination history. Many veterinary clinics or kennels do not accept dogs and cats without proof of vaccination. Without this proof, you may have to pay to have the animal revaccinated.
  • Have written instructions on the animal’s feeding schedule and diet, medications, and any special needs.
  • Include newspapers or trash bags for cleanup.

Here are some general tips for pets in case of bad weather:

  • Bring animals inside before bad weather hits – reassure them and stay calm.
  • In case of severe damage, walk pets on a leash until they are reoriented to their home.
  • Downed power lines, reptiles and debris can all pose a threat to animals after a disaster.
  • If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact Citrus County Animal Services to find out where lost pets can be picked up. Bring a photo of your pet.
  • After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive – watch their behavior.

You must also stay at the shelter for your pet to stay there. You will be solely responsible for your animal during your stay at the shelter. (Walking, feeding and general care are the responsibility of the owner.)

Please keep in mind that your pet will not be sleeping in the same building as you; however, your pet will only be one aisle away!

If you plan to evacuate with your pet to another location and not use the shelter, please make available a list of all things needed to care for your pet while you are away from your residence.

Questions? Call Citrus County Animal Services at 352-746-8400.

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