As they make hurricane preparations, pet owners should consider their animals' needs.
Know where you will go during an evacuation and the rules for animals there. Keep in mind that Red Cross shelters do not accept them. Do not leave pets behind. It is considered abandonment, which is illegal.
The Hilton Head Humane Association offers the following guidelines:
- All pets, including birds, reptiles and rodents, should be evacuated.
- Have current identification tags on your animals at all times and consider microchipping and registering pets. Attach the phone number and address of your temporary shelter or of a friend or relative outside the disaster area.
- Have current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Have a list of hotels and motels outside your immediate area that accept animals in an emergency. For a list of pet-friendly hotels, click here.
- Have a list of medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a first-aid kit.
- Have information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
- Bring food, water, bowls, litter pans and a can opener, as well as pet beds and toys, if transportable.
- Check now to make sure pets are updated on their vaccines and are healthy and ready for evacuation.
- Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for you and your pets.
- Transport your pets safely. Use sturdy leashes, harnesses or carriers to ensure your animals do not escape. Do not leave animals unattended anywhere they can run away. Even the most trustworthy pet may panic, hide, try to escape or even bite or scratch.
- As a disaster approaches, bring pets in the house so you won't have to search for them in case you have to leave in a hurry.