Pets: Preparedness and shelters

Pets: Preparedness and shelters

As part of our household disaster planning, make arrangements for your pets. Plan your course of action ahead of time.

If you must evacuate, it's best to take your pets with you. Ideally, you now someone away from the coast who can care for them and provide a safe haven.

Contact hotels and other lodging accommodations outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets during times of emergencies and any restrictions they may have.

Find boarding kennels within and outside your area. Know where they are, who stays on the premises with the animals in the event of a disaster, and what provisions would be made if the kennel should have to evacuate during a hurricane.

Get a proper size portable pet carrier for each pet. These carriers should be large enough for the pet to stand up and turn around. Get your pet used to the carrier ahead of time. Birds need their cages and snakes may be kept in plastic containers at most pet-friendly shelters.

Have identification for each pet. Be sure your pet ALWAYS wears a well-fitted collar with proper up-to-date pet identification and contact information.

Vaccinate and microchip your pets. If you are ever required to shelter your pets, you will want them protected against disease. Microchipping your pets and keeping your contact information current with the chip's maker will give you piece of mind and a ticket home for your four-legged friend.

If you are in a pinch and can not evacuate the area, most coastal counties do have pet-friendly shelters, but each shelter will have its own policies. These policies are generally in effect for Category 1, 2 and 3 hurricanes.

In the event of a category 4 or 5 storm, the North Carolina state emergency plan calls for Jonhston County to absorb people and pet evacuees for New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Onslow counties at West Johnston High School.