Pets At Hurricane Shelters

Be Prepared with a Pet Plan 

The survival of you, your family, and your pets could depend on your personal disaster plan. The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives. 

In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe place for them, is likely to result in their being injured, lost, or worse. So prepare now for the day when you and your pets may have to leave your home. 

Requirements to Place a Pet in a County Pet-Friendly Shelter 

  • Pets must be pre-registered
  • Provide proof of residency within the evacuation zone
  • Present medical and current vaccination records for each pet
  • Sign and return notarized forms 

Annual rabies vaccinations and a visible Monroe County dog license are required by Monroe County Code. Cats are also required to have annual rabies vaccinations. 

Pets Accepted *Pets must be Properly Caged

  • Dogs 
  • Cats 
  • Gerbils, hamsters, mice, and rats
  • Guinea pigs and small rabbits (small-sized, under 10 pounds)
  • Ferrets
  • Birds

Pet-Friendly Shelters

All Monroe County shelters are pet-friendly. 

In County (Category 1 & 2)

  • Monroe County Pet-Friendly Shelters
  • Key West High School, 2100 Flagler Avenue 
  • Sugarloaf School, 225 Crane Boulevard, MM19 
  • Coral Shores High School, 89591 Overseas Highway, MM89.9 in Tavernier
  • Marathon High School, 350 Sombrero Road

Out of County (Category 3, 4, & 5)

Pet Shelter Rules

Pet owners are reminded that pets require special consideration. Pet owners must be prepared to care for and maintain control over their pets at all times. In order to avoid injury to response personnel or the public from anxious or aggressive pets, owners are required to: 

  • Proper ID collar and current rabies tag
  • Proper ID on all belongings
  • All pets will remain contained in approved carrier except at scheduled times
  • During scheduled relief times, pets will be properly confined with leash, harness
  • Muzzle aggressive or anxious pets
  • Ample food supplies (at least two days)
  • Water and food bowls
  • Any necessary medication(s)
  • Specific instructions (i.e., medication, diet, etc.)
  • Newspapers and plastic trash bags for handling waste

Animal Supply Checklist

Your pet disaster supplies kit should include: 

  • Medications, medical and vaccinations records (stored in a waterproof container), and a first aid kit
  • Remember that vaccination proof is required before they are accepted at boarding kennels and pet shelters
  • Proper Identification, collar, and tags
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can't escape
  • Have newspapers, plastic bags, cleansers, cat litter/pan, and disinfectants available to handle pet wastes
  • Current photos of your pets in case they get lost
  • Food (two-week supply), potable water, bowls, and manual can opener
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets
  • Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable
  • A pet crate

Transportation of Pets

The Pet Evacuation and Transportation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 (H.R.3858) has mandated that such evacuation plans “take into account the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals prior to, during, and following a major disaster or emergency.” Pets need to be properly caged before boarding Public Transportation.


Snakes can be transported in a pillowcase but they must be transferred to more secure housing when they reach the evacuation site. If your snakes require frequent feedings, carry food with you. Take a water bowl large enough for soaking as well as a heating pad. When you are transporting house lizards, follow the same directions as for birds. 

Pocket Pets

Small mammals (hamsters, gerbils, etc.) should be transported in secure carriers suitable for maintaining the animals while sheltered. Take bedding materials, food bowls, and water bottles.


Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier. In cold weather, wrap a blanket over the carrier and warm up the car before placing birds inside. During warm weather, carry a plant mister to mist the birds' feathers periodically. Do not put water inside the carrier during transport. Provide a few slices of fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content. Have a photo for identification and leg bands. If the carrier does not have a perch, line it with paper towels and change them frequently. Try to keep the carrier in a quiet area. Do not let the birds out of the cage or carrier.