Pet Disaster Planning

Hillsborough County’s pet-friendly shelters are located throughout the County but should be seen as a last resort. Residents are reminded to make a plan for your pets before disaster strikes. Planning ahead is the best way to protect your pet, including where you will stay if you and your family are evacuated. Please check the Stay Safe page for the current status of shelters and for possible additional shelters that may be designated as pet friendly.

Looking for pet friendly hotels? A simple internet search of "pet friendly shelters" includes multiple options.

If you must go to a pet friendly shelter, here are some important considerations:

  • The County’s pet friendly shelters are equipped to handle dogs and cats only. Limited space is available. 

  • Your pet will be housed separately from you and you will have limited access to visit your pet. 

  • You are responsible for the care and well-being of your animal. You will be scheduled a minimum of twice a day to feed, clean and walk your pet.

Be Your Pet’s Best Friend: Have a Disaster Plan

Top 5 Tips to Protect Your Pet in Unforeseen Emergencies

Taking precautions for your pets in the event of a disaster doesn't have to be difficult. It can be easily done in the comfort of your home.These key pointers from the Pet Resource Center will help you care for your pets before an emergency arises.

Top Five Most Important Tips:

  • Make sure that your pet's County registration tag is up-to-date. If it is expired or lost, bring his or her rabies certificate to the Pet Resource Center and get a replacement. After updating your pet's tag, take a trip to your vet to update all vaccinations, and get a microchip and extra medications.

  • Create a disaster kit and I.D. packet for your pet. The kit should include a seven-day supply of food and water per pet, waste disposal items, pet medication, and comfort items like their favorite toys and blankets. Your pet's waterproof I.D. packet needs to contain your contact information and family veterinarian information, the microchip and County pet registration tag numbers, and any information regarding medical needs.

  • Arrange a safe and comfortable place to stay with your pet during an unforeseen crisis, like a family member's or friend's house, or a pet-friendly hotel. Create a list of veterinarians and/or boarding facilities you would feel comfortable leaving your pet with during an emergency. This allows you to have several locations for your pets to go to if you have to leave your home in a hurry. Be sure they are on your evacuation route, but NOT in a flood zone.

  • Get a cage or carrier that's easy to transport and large enough for your pet to stand up and move around in.

  • Public pet-friendly shelters are available in Hillsborough County, but they should be used ONLY as a last resort. Learn here about what to expect at these local shelters.

You can also go to HCFL Alert Hillsborough County's official mass notification system, create your profile, and receive the latest information on any severe weather alerts. Remember: A hurricane is not the only weather disaster that Hillsborough County faces. There are also wildfires, floods, tornadoes, and droughts . Be a good best friend, and prepare your pets for any natural disaster.

Pet Friendly Emergency Shelters

Hillsborough County offers eight (8) pet friendly shelters. To shelter your pet in case of emergency you must bring:

  • Proof of current rabies vaccination and license for dogs and cats

  • Pet must be on a leash or in a carrier

  • A crate large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around. Cats need a crate large enough to contain litter and food/water

  • Bring all pet supplies to include: crate, food, water, litter, treats, cleaning supplies, medicines, etc.

  • You are responsible for the care of your pet while in the shelter

  • Cohabitation of pets and owners is not permitted

If you are unable to meet these requirements, please make other arrangements to shelter your pet. Learn more about pet disaster planning.

More information can be found at https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/newsroom/2017/08/10/be-your-pets-best-friend-have-a-disaster-plan

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