Where To Evacuate With Pets In Tampa Bay Area During Hurricane Idalia
Jun 20, 2023
TAMPA BAY, FL — With Hurricane Idalia approaching Florida, those living in low-lying areas or mobile home parks in several Tampa Bay areas are under mandatory evacuation orders. Residents of other areas that aren’t under an order might also consider voluntarily evacuating as a precaution ahead of the storm.
But evacuating might be difficult if you have a dog, cat or other pet to consider when escaping the hurricane.
Pet owners shouldn’t leave their furry (or feathered or scaly) friends alone if they need to evacuate during a hurricane.
“Your pets may end up being left alone for hours or days depending on severe weather, storm damage, downed power lines, road closures or other poor conditions. Wind or rain damage to your home and yard could also put your pets at risk for injury or escape in your absence,” according to the SPCA Tampa Bay website.
Luckily, many hotel chains, including La Quinta, Motel 6, Red Roof, Red Lion and Best Western, offer pet-friendly accommodations, the agency said. And in a state of emergency, other hotel chains might ease restrictions on pets staying at their locations. Pet owners should call a hotel to double check if they allow pets before booking a room.
Petfriendlyhotels.com is also a great resource for searching for pet-friendly rooms.
Federal law also requires local governments to open some of their evacuation centers to pets.
All Tampa Bay-area counties offer at least a few pet-friendly hurricane shelters to those evacuating during Idalia, including:
The rules for pet owners vary at each location, for instance in Hillsborough County, cohabitation of pets and owners in a shelter isn’t allowed. Check the rules for each shelter before arriving.
All shelters will likely require proof of current rabies vaccination and a license for dogs and cats.
Owners will need to care for their pets while they’re in the evacuation center and should bring all supplies they might need, including a crate, food, water, litter, treats, cleaning supplies and medication.
SPCA Tampa Bay recommends that pet owners have three to five days worth of essential supplies ahead of a storm.
Pets should also be microchipped with updated owner records.
“A microchip is the fastest and most reliable way to reunite you with your pet if you become separated. It’s a cheap and easy procedure that is priceless in a time of crisis,” the agency said. “As an owner, remember that you need to keep your contact information up-to-date by calling the microchip company. Also ensure that your pet’s collar has the identification tag on it and that your contact information is accurate.”
Vaccinations should also be up-to-date to be allowed into pet-friendly shelters. These records should be part of a pet owner’s hurricane kit.Tiffany RazzanoRelated Stories:Hillsborough CountyManatee CountyPasco CountyPinellas CountySarasota CountyRelated: