Hurricane Plan: What to do with pets

BLUFFTON, Sc. (WSAV) – As we continue to prepare for the possibility of Hurricane Irma on the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, it’s important to make sure your animals are included in your hurricane plan.

“With the way it’s looking right now, if it comes at us, everything in this area is at risk, so you don’t want to leave your animal anywhere here,” said Caitlyn Schake the executive director with Jasper Animal Rescue, “We’re getting a lot of phone calls, people coming in saying ‘What do I do with my animals?’ and our answer is- take them with you.”

With 200 animals of their own that they may need to evacuate, Schake says please take yours with you.

“It’s very easy to find a pet-friendly hotel, especially in a time of a hurricane, a lot more hotels change their policies,” Schake said.

Meanwhile in Bluffton, The Bark Shack will board your animals if you absolutely need it.

“People have family members on oxygen… and have to keep them in a certain type of environment and those environments might not allow pets and they’ve got other elderly parents they have to take care of and simply cannot handle taking all of their pets as well,” said Karen Just, owner of The Bark Shack.

Just and eight employees stayed during Hurricane Matthew with 109 pets.

“Last year our building withstood everything perfectly; we had no problems,” she said.

But they will be prepared if the time comes…

“We’re taking precautions in both ways, we’ve got tons of crates… several hundred crates that we’ve always had for evacuation purposes; we’ve got car rentals already on standby; we’ve got people ready to drive them; we’ve got places to go, so that’s always a possibility,” Just said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the shack was only going to take boarding reservations up until the end of the day. Just said they will keep any prior commitments, and stop making reservations Thursday in order to prepare staff and accommodations. Their number is 843-757-0888.

Down the road at Hilton Head Humane Association, they started to evacuate animals Wednesday. They say if you can help foster any of their cats or dogs until the storm clears, please call them Thursday morning. Their number is 843-681-8686.

Jasper Animal Rescue does need some help fostering small animals, and may need volunteers to help evacuate the animals. You can call them at 843-726-7799.

For DHEC suggestions with your pets during an evacuation, click here.

To find a pet-friendly hotel, click here.

In Savannah, Chatham County Animal Services is also asking for help with animals. The statement was posted to their Facebook page Wednesday: “We are making plans to evacuate some cats and dogs to nearby shelters not projected to be in the path of Irma. However, capacity at these shelters is very small. Therefore, we really need help please from the community. If you are able to adopt a cat or dog this week, this will be a huge help as this lowers the number of animals needing to be evacuated. And if you are not in a position to adopt permanently, we can arrange for a temporary adoption. For temporary adoptions, we need for you to please keep animal(s) from our shelter for a short time until the storm has blown through and we are able to reopen and resume normal operations.”

You can visit the shelter between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. no later than Friday Sept. 8. They will wave adoption fees for both permanent and temporary adoptions this week.

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