Clay Humane, a nonprofit animal clinic located in Orange Park, is offering tips to prepare pets as hurricane season begins in Northeast Florida.
The Atlantic Hurricane season starts June 1, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“We have had some active hurricanes in our area in the past few years, so it is vital to prepare for your entire family, including the pets, in advance of hurricane season,” said Dr. Christian Broadhurst, senior staff veterinarian at Clay Humane. “With just a few simple actions, you can help ensure the safety of your pets if disaster strikes.”
Dr. Broadhurst recommends the following tips to prepare for a hurricane:
• Create an emergency kit: Pack a pet first-aid kit, a three or four-day supply of your pet's food and medications, bottled water, feeding dishes, litter and/or disposable garbage bags and extra leashes and harnesses. Also remember to pack photocopies of your pet's medical records and pictures of your pet(s) in case you are separated. Bring a spray bottle filled with water for birds' wings. Carry a sturdy bowl for reptiles to soak in and ample bedding for small animals like hamsters or guinea pigs.
• Make sure you have proper crates and carriers: Identify which crates and/or carriers you will take in the event of an emergency and put them in a place where they are easy to access in case of emergency. Make sure crates and carriers are labeled with your name and your pet's name(s) and allow pets comfort on long evacuation drives. If your bird’s carrier does not have a perch, line it with paper towels for easy cleaning.
• Create a list of local pet-friendly shelters: Many areas offer emergency shelters open to animals. Some require registration prior to entering the shelter. For Clay County, visit www.claycountygov.com/departments/emergency-management for more information. For Duval County, visit www.coj.net/departments/fire-and-rescue/emergency-preparedness/be-jaxre…. For Nassau County, visit www.nassaucountyfl.com/482/Pet-Friendly-Disaster-Evacuation-Shelter. For St. Johns County, visit www.sjcemergencymanagement.org/shetlocs.html.
• Know evacuation routes: Research evacuation routes from your home and store your pet's emergency kit and carriers as soon as you hear of a possible storm. Make sure your pets are wearing proper and up-to-date identification. If you cannot find a shelter near your evacuation route that houses pets, research boarding facilities or pet-friendly hotels outside of the evacuation area.
Clay Humane also hosts a Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) that lends assistance to animals in need after storms. The Clay Humane DART team assisted in the Florida Firestorm of 1998 and travelled to Mississippi and Louisiana to help injured and displaced animals after Hurricane Katrina. For more information about the Clay Humane DART team, visit www.clayhumane.org/disaster-preparation.php.
About Clay Humane
Clay Humane is a nonprofit animal welfare organization offering spay/neuter surgeries and other veterinary care at substantially reduced rates. Located in Orange Park, Fla., the clinic also offers humane education, pet behavioral counseling, pet therapy, wildlife protection and disaster preparation and response. Established in 1978, Clay Humane relies on grants, donations and fundraisers to operate and is committed to providing care to animals throughout Florida’s First Coast. For more information about Clay Humane, visit www.clayhumane.org.