Sign In

How To Prepare For Shelter Evacuation

June 25, 2020

Evacuating during a hurricane can be a scary and confusing process, and for those who need to head to an emergency shelter, finding a place to stay that accommodates pets can be difficult.

Experts say it’s essential for pet owners to plan in advance where they’ll house furry members of the family since many hotels and shelters don’t allow pets.

Emergency shelters across the Palmetto State are managed and overseen by the American Red Cross. These shelters generally do not allow dogs, cats, birds or other household pets unless they’re service animals, said S.C. Red Cross spokesman Ben Williamson.

In order to maintain recommended social distancing measures necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, shelter occupancy will be significantly limited this year, leaving little room to accommodate pets.

“Because of COVID-19, the Red Cross is unable to welcome any pets into our shelters for hurricane season,” Williamson said.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country, the Red Cross already limited household pets at its emergency shelters. That’s because some evacuees may be allergic to pets, Williamson said. Others might be nervous or uncomfortable around them.

“We welcome anyone into our shelters. We don’t turn anyone away,” he said. “We want to make sure everyone can come to our shelters and not have issues.”

Charleston County does have a facility pre-identified to house domesticated household pets and their owners seeking shelter from category 1, 2 and 3 hurricanes, said Charleston County Emergency Management Director Jason Patno.

The shelter is “co-located,” meaning that owners and their pets will be in the same facility. But all pets will be housed in cages or containers in an area separate from where their owners stay.

The facility is located at 3765 Leeds Ave. in North Charleston.

Owners should bring food, medications and a crate for their pet. The shelter does not accept exotic animals, and animals demonstrating aggressive behavior might be turned away, Panto said.

Much like emergency hurricane shelters, pet-friendly shelters are “shelters of last resort,” Panto said, and residents are highly encouraged to relocate on their own away with a family member or friend away if possible.

Kay Hyman, spokeswoman for the Charleston Animal Society, agreed.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more