Sumter– With hurricane season quickly approaching, many communities are preparing early for a summer of unknowns. Alongside those preparations, YOUR Humane Society SPCA (formerly known as Humane Society SPCA/Sumter County) has released important info, safety tips and reminders for pet-owning Floridians.
With potential extreme weather on the mind, the YHSSPCA urges animal caretakers to have indoor facility arrangements available for their animals when severe conditions may arise. Other hurricane preparedness tips shared by the YOUR Humane Society SPCA are below:
- “If you plan to evacuate, bring your pets. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to be there, it’s not safe for them either. Evacuation should take place no later than 24-48 hours before any storm makes landfall predicted towards your residence. Notify family or friends that you will be bringing your pets along. If you are leaving the storm area and you plan to stay at a pet-friendly hotel/shelter, reservations must be made immediately as sites book up rapidly during an emergency.
- Keep your pets inside or in a secure room or crate. Animals have been known to panic to such an extent that they will bolt from their home and run in terror to avoid storms. If windows break, loose pets in a house, have been known to flee from the debris and chaos. Operating portable generators must be kept in sheltered but open-air environments. Do not keep pets in a garage with an operating generator. The carbon monoxide fumes are toxic and will potentially kill them and you. Have a Pet Alert window cling on your home’s front and back doors for emergency workers to know who needs to be pulled from danger if you are not home at the time.
- All pets should have more than one form of ID (collar with a personal tag and a County License tag, a microchip) on them and an emergency contact number out of the storm’s range in case you are separated. Have their current paperwork stored in waterproof bags or storage containers. Advice for newcomers to FL: Update your in/out-of-state contact information at the microchip company’s website.
- All pets should be current on vaccinations and needed prescriptions should be filled before the storm arrives. Provide at least a week’s supply of water and pet food for each pet and a 30 day supply of prescription medications. Have a manual can opener if there is no electricity and a pet first aid kit ready.
Horses and other livestock:
If you plan to evacuate your horses, do not find yourself stranded on a crowded highway with a loaded horse trailer. High winds may cause a trailer to flip over and flooded areas make hauling livestock even more dangerous. Make all pet related boarding arrangements well in advance, have ample fuel, tires/brakes/lights checked and allow for slower than normal travel time.
- If you have horses or other livestock, make sure they are NOT locked in barns but instead have the option to run out towards an open space in case of a barn collapse during high winds or potential tornadoes. Have a breakaway halter (preferably leather) with an ID tag secured to it or a luggage tag woven into their mane. Fetlock ID bands, available at local feed stores, allow you to write your contact information on them should the animal escape their property lines if trees come down on fence lines. Store perishable livestock feed and hay elevated from flooded areas and store feed in plastic bins to prevent deadly molds from growing.
- Remove any loose or lightweight objects which could become projectiles in high winds. These items can potentially impale and kill animals. Fill all empty tubs with water so it will be readily available to livestock during the entire storm’s presence in the event you may lose power and cannot pump water from your well.”
More tips shared from the ASPCA website include:
- A sticker outside your home or shelter notating the presence of animals.
- Having a list of pet-friendly hotels locally and in any evacuation plan cities.
- Having designated standby pet caregivers in case of displacement or emergency.
Should your pet become lost during in-climate weather, immediately contact YHSSPCA or your local animal rescues and shelters. Be ready to provide current photos of the pet and your proof of ownership. Next, create a flier including pictures, identifying information, microchip location if possible, names and owners contact info to share at local businesses and your neighborhood. Be sure to share on social media groups as well.
Should the need arise, emergency pet shelters will be opened in Sumter County. These listings can be found at https://www.sumtercountyfl.gov/1103/Make-a-Plan along with other tips and resources from The Sumter County Emergency Operations Center.
YOUR Humane Society SPCA can be contacted at 352-793-9117 and is located at 994 CR 529A, in Lake Panasoffkee.