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Pet owners urged to have pet evacuation plan

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With local animal shelters and boarding facilities hunkering down ahead of Irma, those of you with pets at home have steps that should be taken to protect your furry friends.

One of the busiest times of the year for local animal shelters is right after major storms hit, when many animals are displaced. Vets are reminding everyone that if you cannot take your pets along with you during an evacuation to make other plans and do not leave them at home.

Lisa Tarr, Vice President of Marketing and Communication at Pet Paradise Resort, said that spots at their inland resorts are filling up quickly. This local facility is one of the few that will board your pet during a major storm, and they are preparing for Irma.

“We’re getting generators, pet food. Making sure we have enough water for our pets and just making sure our staff and pets are safe during the approaching Hurricane Irma,” said Tarr.

The staff at Pet Paradise say that pets will be safe under their care. The facility is built to withstand category three hurricane conditions, but if they have to evacuate, they have crates and vans ready to take your pets to safety.

The American Veterinary Medical Association wants to make sure pet owners are also prepared for the storm with a pet evacuation kit that includes: food and medicine, pet sanitation wipes, travel supplies, and medical documents, like vaccination records are important to always have on hand.

Pets can also have a lot of anxiety during storms and may be frightened by thunder and lightning. A good tip from local vets is that you can comfort your pet with an anxiety vest. Wrapping your pet in a tight blanket can be a substitute if you do not have an anxiety vest. If your pet has extreme anxiety, you may want to contact your vet.

If you are a Duval County resident and need to evacuate, find your government-operated pet-friendly shelter here. Pet-friendly shelters include Mandarin Middle, Landmark Middle, Legends Community Center and Chimney Lakes Elementary School.

In Duval County, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (buses, skyway, trolley) will allow certain animals on their vehicles during state of emergency situations. Click here for more information.

Registration for pet-friendly shelters in Clay County is available here.

St Johns County pet-friendly shelters include: South Woods Elementary School, 4750 SR-206 West and Timberlin Creek Elementary School, 555 Pine Tree Lane

Nassau County pet-friendly shelters include: Yulee Elementary School, 86063 Felmore Rd., Yulee, FL 32097, Callahan Middle School, 450121 Old Dixie Hwy, Callahan, FL 32011 and Hilliard Middle/Senior School, 1 Flashes Ave, Hilliard, FL 32046​

Below is a list of websites to help you find pet-friendly motels:

  • Bringfido.com
  • Dogfriendly.com
  • Doginmysuitcase.com
  • Pet-friendly-hotels.net
  • Pets-allowed-hotels.com
  • Petswelcome.com
  • Tripswithpets.com​

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