INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Indian River County announced Friday it will open its first pet-friendly hurricane shelter at Liberty Magnet School in Vero Beach.The shelter, opening just in time for hurricane season, will allow owners to safely be sheltered in the same facility with their pets during declared emergencies.
The shelter is specifically designated for pet owners who live in the county’s evacuation areas most likely to be subjected to mandatory evacuation orders: the barrier island, manufactured homes, areas subject to flooding, and areas east of U.S. Highway 1.The initiative is a cooperative effort between Indian River County Emergency Management, Indian River County Animal Control, the School District of Indian River County, the Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County and the American Red Cross North Treasure Coast Chapter. Under the program, residents of the designated emergency evacuation area and their pets will be sheltered in separate designated areas of the facility. The Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County and Indian River County Animal Control staff will jointly be responsible for monitoring the pet area of the shelter while the American Red Cross will be managing the area of the shelter designated for people.
Because of space limitations, those who want to use the shelter during declared emergencies should pre-register. Owners will be required to show proof that they reside in the county evacuation area and that their pets have up-to-date vaccinations and rabies shots.
“The Pet-Friendly shelter concept is a very good idea because we know of instances where people with pets have elected to stay in their homes in the evacuation area during declared emergencies because they had no place that would take their pets,” said John King, Indian River County Emergency Services Director.
Residents in the emergency evacuation area who would like to pre-register can obtain an application at www.irces.com or www.hsvb.org. Registration forms or additional information can also be obtained by calling the Humane Society at 388-3331, Ext. 10.