While Hurricane Florence likely won’t affect the Golden Isles directly, Glynn County Animal Control wants the public to remember their pets if the Isles has a future hurricane evacuation.
Above all, Animal Control Manager Tiffani Hill encouraged pet owners not to leave their pets behind. Animal control may not be able to find runaway pets during a major storm, so pet owners are advised to keep track of their animal during an evacuation.
“Last year, there were dogs and cats left in homes and even dogs left tied to trees. We urge people to evacuate their pets with them. Animal Control and other rescue organizations may not be able to go looking for abandoned pets until sometime after the storm has passed,” Hill said in an email Wednesday. “We can’t stress enough the importance of planning for pets ahead of time. Animal Control, the humane society and other rescue groups will be using all of their resources to evacuate the hundreds of unowned animals already in our care.”
If someone does choose to leave their pet, the worst thing to do would be to leave them tied up outside, Hill said.
“Please do not tie them up so that the dogs or cats can try to find shelter and food on their own. This at least gives them a fighting chance to survive the storm,” Hill said in the email. “When it is safe to do so, Animal Control Officers will go in and search for abandoned or lost pets.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency gives advice to pet owners preparing for evacuation on its website.
Do some advance legwork, like scoping out pet-friendly shelters and hotels ahead of time. Locate pet boarding facilities and veterinary offices, as well, the website states. Keep a record of vaccinations handy, as many boarding facilities and shelters may require them.
It also recommends bringing supplies. A minimum of three days worth of food and water specifically for pets, as well as flea and tick medicine, litter and a litter box, crate or carrier and any documents, such as adoption papers and registration information.
Animal control can microchip pets for $20, which may make it easier to find them should they come separated from their owners. Most animal control agencies and veterinary offices have the ability to scan microchips, which generally contain owner contact information.
“We urge people to have their pets microchipped so that if they get separated, owners and pets have a better hope of being reunited. All of the veterinarians in the area microchip pets. And we do, also, both at our shelter and in our mobile adoption van. Most types of pets, including rabbits, birds and some reptiles, can be microchipped. Island Animal Hospital on Demere (Road) can microchip exotic pets,” Hill said in the email.
Glynn County maintains shelters for people and pets in Waycross, at which people are welcome to leave their pets if necessary. The shelter is located at the Waycross Fairgrounds.
Animal control can provide security and safe accommodations for pets, but owners will have to provide for their pet’s daily care including grooming and bedding. Pets can be retrieved from the shelter at any time. Hill said she expects enough donations of dog food to cover owned pets as well as shelter animals.
The county also maintains a shelter for people in Waycross, which pet owners can take advantage of if needed. It is within walking distance of the pet shelter, she said.
For more information on alternative pet shelters and other resources, call animal control at 912-554-7500.