Disaster preparedness plans should include pets

By Cynthia Oswald,
BOCC Public Information Officer

There are many ways that you can be prepared to keep your pet safe during an emergency.

According to Citrus County Animal Services, the first thing you should do is have your pet micro-chipped -- and do this right away, don't wait for an approaching storm.

Hurricane Katrina displaced more than 8,000 animals; most of them never found their owner. Microchipping and registering your pet nationally is the only positive way to identify a pet without being physically present to identify them.

In the event of a disaster, the pet-friendly shelter will be located at the Lecanto Primary School. Dogs (80 pounds or less), cats and birds are welcome. Caging is available for dogs and cats; however, if you have an avian friend (bird), you must provide caging.

All animals must be up-to-date with their county license and rabies vaccination. DHPP is recommended for dogs and FVRCP for cats. You must bring this information with you. There is a list available on our website of items to bring with your pet to the shelter.

You can pre-register your pet(s) to stay at the shelter by filing out the on-line registration form at http://www.citruscritters.com/resources/evacuation.htm.