Florida Hurricane Shelters to Allow Pets

For the first time, four Jacksonville locations will allow animals to stay in shelters during the upcoming hurricane season.

This hurricane season, pet owners in Duvall County, Fla., will have one less thing to worry about when the next big storm hits.

The city of Jacksonville plans to open at least four pet-friendly shelters in time for the season, which starts June 1. At least one of the shelters is slated to serve people with special needs.

The city has not yet identified the pet-friendly shelters, and is still working out details, including which types of pets will be allowed. But owners will be responsible for providing food, water, and medicine for the pets, and shelters may require that pets be kept in crates or wear muzzles and leashes.

Providing this option for Duvall County pet owners may help those who previously had to make the difficult choice between staying with their pets or moving to a hurricane shelter.

Two other Florida counties, Broward and Miami-Dade, already have hurricane shelters that allow pets along with people, and the Florida State Legislature is currently considering two proposals to make it mandatory for every county to have at least one animal-friendly shelter.

The House bill would limit pets at hurricane shelters to cats and dogs, while the Senate bill only excludes reptiles. However, both would require owners to bring food, water, medical records, and other pet supplies.

Posted: April 15, 2006, 5 a.m. EST


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Nisha   Miami, FL

9/5/2008 11:02:09 AM

I think this is absolutely wonderful! My dogs are my children, the thought of them having to be in some cold foreign place without me and hoping that they survive the storms really gives me chills. Now we just need some closer to home.

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