The shelter(s) may be located at South Fort Myers High School, 14020 Plantation Road, Fort Myers; East Lee County High School, 715 Thomas Sherwin Ave., Lehigh Acres; or potentially another location(s) depending on the nature and direction of the storm. Stay tuned to local radio and TV stations for an announcement indicating where the Evacuation Pet Shelter will be located.
The Mandatory Evacuation Shelter(s) are to be used only by people affected by mandatory evacuation orders that are unable to seek alternative shelter. The only animals admitted will be cats and dogs.
The Mandatory Evacuation Shelter will be operated similar to people shelters, and like people shelters, you will not be able to register or reserve a space. Pet owners are required to stay at the shelter but will be housed in separate areas from their pets. When you are admitted to the shelter, one family member will be assigned the task of taking care of your pet at pre-assigned times. Pets must be removed when the shelter is officially closed.
Residents must make their own emergency plan that includes arrangements for evacuation and sheltering of family and pets. Options for hotels or motels that accept pets are available at http://www.petswelcome.com/ (Under "Instant Pet Friendly Search" select a state and city) or http://www.bringfido.com/. Pet owners should also check with friends and relatives outside the affected areas where the hurricane is predicted to hit for a possible safe location during the storm. The Mandatory Evacuation Pet Shelter should be a last resort!
Pet owners should be aware that there are risks whenever multiple pets are housed in close quarters. The most serious is the spread of disease. Vaccinations have to be administered in advance of disease exposure to provide protection. Check with your veterinarian about which vaccines are recommended for your pet and when they should be given. Unfortunately, even with the best precautions and care, pets in shelters may be exposed to parasites, bacteria, viruses and other communicable conditions. Your pet will be stressed in a mass housing situation and due to the hurricane. This will also affect your pet's health and its ability to fight off illness.
Regardless of where you go during the storm, bring the following items with you:
- Your pet's food
- Bowls for food and water
- Sturdy, impact resistant carriers (no soft carriers or make-shift containers)
- Bedding for the carrier
- Litter, litter boxes and a scoop for cats
- Your pet's regular medications
- Toys, chewing objects or other stress relief for your pet
- Lee County license and other identification (Microchip IDs are encouraged)
- Check with your veterinarian to see if your pet is up-to-date on the recommended vaccinations