The Villages Voice - July 2013

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Hurricane Season Is Here - Are Your Pets Ready?

by Staff

Hurricane Season Is Here…Are Your Pets Ready?
The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County wants to make sure your pets are kept safe as Florida residents enter the 2013 hurricane season June through November.  Companion animals can face huge life threatening dangers if left unattended during a dangerous storm.  The HS/SPCA strongly urges pet owners to provide a safe haven for their companion animals indoors where they may be shielded from the risk of lightning, electrocution, flying debris, drowning or injuries caused in their attempts to flee from their fear of an oncoming storm.  These resources and tips are offered to protect your pets during the upcoming hurricane season:
•    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, pets loose 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.
•    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 two week supply of medications, water and pet food for each pet.  Have a manual can opener if there is no electricity and a pet first aid kit ready.
Recovery of Lost Pets:
•    Make sure pets always wear proper identification.  Acquiring a County pet license and having a microchip for each of your pets greatly increases the chances of reuniting a lost pet with its owner.  An overwhelming number of pets are lost specifically during hurricane season due to their attempt to escape the chaos and with no form of ID, they have little chance of being reunited with their owners.  Don’t make your pet a tragic statistic!
•    If you need to find your lost pet, contact The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, Inc. at 352-793-9117 or the Sumter County Animal Services Department at 352-569-1960. Make sure you have a current photo of your pet with you in it (this proves the connection of you and the lost pet), with all contact information. Create a flyer with the photo & info and post it at all local veterinary offices, groomers, pet supply stores throughout your neighborhood along with your HS/SPCA and County Animal facility so they are all on the alert to help.
The Sumter County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has many other helpful disaster planning tips available at www.sumtercountyfl.gov under the Emergency Management department listing.  The closest official “pet friendly” shelters near The Villages opened during a storm emergency are Sumter: South Sumter High School in Bushnell; Lake: Rolling Acres Elementary School in Lady Lake.
The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, Inc. (HS/SPCA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based organization helping all animals in need throughout Sumter County, Florida.  Donations directly help to cover the cost of saving, treating, and caring for neglected, abused and abandoned animals.  To find out more about the HS/SPCA, visit www.hsspca.org, call 352-793-9117 or visit them at their facility located at 994 CR 529A, in Lake Panasoffkee Mon.-Sat. 10am-2pm.