Plan ahead for your pets

Pinellas County pet owners have new options when it comes to pet-friendly emergency shelters. The Pinellas County School Board and Pinellas County government provide these three pet-friendly shelter locations.

  • Palm Harbor University High School
    1900 Omaha St., Palm Harbor
  • Largo High School
    410 Missouri Ave. N., Largo
  • Gibbs High School
    850 34th St. S., St. Petersburg

The facilities are substantially-built, have large indoor gyms, and separate air handlers to ensure the comfort and safety of allergic citizens who shelter there.

If you are able, please download a registration form, complete it, and bring it with you to a pet-friendly shelter.

Pinellas County Animal Services, in partnership with local fire departments, realized some citizens that are classified as special needs evacuees and that are already registered with their local fire department may have a pet they need help evacuating. These citizens should call Pinellas County Animal Services at (727) 582-2600 option #8 to make arrangements for pickup.

The fire station that is closest to them will be the one that evacuates them in an emergency. For more information, these citizens can call Pinellas County Emergency Management at (727) 464-3800 or their local fire department. If they have not done so yet, they must do so in order to register for Pinellas County Animal Services pet pickup.


Other shelter options:

Animal shelters, such as Pinellas County Animal Services, the Humane Society, and the SPCA, cannot accept your pets.

Also, please do not assume that a boarding kennel or hotel/motel will accept your pet. Check ahead and look for kennels in non-evacuation zones. For pet-friendly hotels/motels, call the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at (727) 464-7200 or, during an evacuation, go to www.visitstpeteclearwater.com.

There are many services on the Internet that list pet-friendly lodgings and include travel recommendations. Search “pet-friendly lodgings” for options.


Recommended disaster supply kit for pets:

  • Proper identification
  • Immunization records
  • County license rabies tag
  • Food and water (2 wks. supply)
  • A carrier or portable kennel
  • Medications
  • Muzzle, collar, and leash
  • Manual can opener
  • Current photo of pet
  • Feeding and water bowls
  • Favorite toys and blanket
  • Cat litter/pan and scoop
  • Grooming items
  • Plastic bags to handle waste

Residents who are evacuating with their pets should remember to bring the suggested supplies. If you are not able to gather all these supplies, accommodations will still be provided for you and your pet.


Preparation tips:

  • Make sure your pet has proper identification with either a collar tag or a microchip implant. Have proof of current county-issued rabies vaccination available. A license is your pet’s ticket home. Download a Pet Identification Form here. Fill out this form and adhere to your pet carrier or kennel. This form will contain all needed information about your pet for your stay at Pinellas County pet-friendly shelters.
    • Plan for your pet well in advance if you live in an evacuation area.
      Write down your plan or create a check list.
    • Take your pet when you evacuate.
    • Know your evacuation route and when you will evacuate.
    • Ask friends or family living outside of evacuation areas if they can keep
      your pet.
    • Keep a pet carrier (portable kennel) for each pet – one that allows your pet to stand and turn around. The carrier should be marked with your pet’s identification.Make sure you have a collar and leash for keeping your pet under control.
    • Make sure all your pet’s vaccinations are current and have proof available of its current county-issued rabies vaccination.
    • Pack supplies for your pet, including current veterinary records, a two-week supply of food and water, medications with instructions, bowls, favorite toys and blanket, cat litter/pan, plastic bags, collar/leash, disinfectants to handle pet wastes, and a current photo of you with your pet.
    • If you must use a kennel as a last resort, make sure it is not in an evacuation zone and reserve space as soon as possible. Kennels require proof of vaccinations.

After a storm:

  • Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home. Often, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.
  • Reptiles brought in with flood water and debris can pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
  • Carry a picture of your pet for identification.
  • After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive. Monitor their behavior.

Post-disaster animal collection temporary collection sites:

After a storm, stray animals will be collected and staged at temporary collection sites prior to transfer to more permanent shelters. The location of these collection sites will be determined based on prevailing conditions. Every effort will be made to inform the public of these locations so that animals can be returned to their owners as quickly as possible.

Once the site(s) have been determined, you should look for your pet(s) at the location nearest your home and where you last saw your pet. To report a lost pet, call Pinellas County Animal Services at (727) 582-2600.

For more information, visit http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/petpreparedness.htm

Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center Department of Emergency Management – 727-464-3800

During an emergency activation, call the Citizen Information Center at (727) 464-4333.

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