Disaster Planning

Be Prepared

The mission of the Preparedness section of the Division of Animal Control is to help you and your pet(s) prepare for an emergency situation. A pet is a part of the family too. DO NOT leave your pet during a disaster.

This page will help familiarize you with supplies you should have on hand, precautions you should take in your home and on your property, and with other areas of concern you may inadvertently overlook.

If you have any questions or concerns about something we have not covered, please feel free to contact us and bring them to our attention. We will do our best to research these concerns or unique situations, and update our web pages accordingly.

Pet Friendly Shelters

St. Johns County offers two "Pet Friendly" evacuation shelters: 

Timberlin Creek Elementary (Map)
555 Pine Tree Lane
St. Augustine, FL 32092

South Woods Elementary (Map)
4750 SR 206 West
Elkton, FL 32033

For more Pet Friendly Shelter information, check out the St. Johns County's Pet Friendly Shelter Program Brochure.

Preparing Your Pets

Dogs and Cats

  • Our main goals and responsibilities are to return lost pets to their owners and adopt animals that don't have a home.

  • Make sure your pet is current on all inoculations and is wearing proper identifying tags: Rabies tag, tag with owner's name, address and phone number.

  • Keep a leash handy.

  • If your dog normally wears a "choker" collar, have a leather or nylon collar on hand if you have to leave him alone for several days.

  • Obtain a pet carrier or crate in which your pet can stand and turn around.

  • When assembling emergency supplies for your household, include items needed for your pet:

    • Extra dry food. Store food in sturdy airtight containers.

    • Kitty litter if you own a cat.

    • A large capacity self-feeder and water dispenser.

    • Extra medications your pet may require.

  • Evacuation Shelters are starting to allow pets. Please check with your local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for “Pet Friendly” shelters.

  • "Trained Guide Dogs" in most states, will be allowed to stay in emergency shelters with their owners. Check with your local emergency management officials for more information.

  • If you plan to evacuate to a hotel or motel, check in advance whether your pet (s) will be welcome.

  • Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.


Caring for birds in a disaster requires special consideration. Listed below are some recommendations.

  • Determine if your birds need a continuous supply of power. Purchase a generator to meet your facilities' needs. Make sure your generator is in good running condition by starting it monthly.

  • Make sure you have a sufficient water supply. Large water containers with chlorinated water (10 drops of chlorine bleach to each gallon of water) can be used to store water that prohibits bacterial growth. Store water away from sunlight.

  • Aviaries should be equipped with an overhead sprinkler system. In fires, this will help minimize smoke inhalation, cool the air, and reduce the chance of burn injuries.

  • Aviculturists should have enough carriers on hand to evacuate all birds.

  • Many birds will run into their nest boxes during a crisis. Nest boxes should be equipped with quick-release latches and a hinge-type cover over the entrance to enable you to remove the nest box and use it as a pet carrier.

  • Flights should be constructed with easy access into and out of them.

  • Birds often require specialty foods. Make sure you know what these are and where you can get them. Although surplus food can often be refrigerated, this may not be possible in a disaster when the power supply is out.

  • Birds should be tested and free of psittacosis and tuberculosis. These are serious diseases and are transmissible to many other animals and people.

  • Do not leave your birds where they can be exposed to fumes from fires or chemicals. Birds are sensitive to smoke and fumes and succumb quicker to smoke than most other animals

Pet Disaster Kit Checklist

Create your Pet Disaster Kit. Download Disaster Checklist.

[   ] Your written family / pet disaster plan
[   ] Crate / carrier and bedding
[   ] Food, water, manual can opener and dishes
[   ] Plastic bags, paper towels, newspaper (when shredded, can be used as cat litter)
[   ] Cleaning supplies, disinfectants
[   ] Collar, leash, harness
[   ] Muzzle, gauze rolls
[   ] Identification tags
[   ] Current medical and vaccination records
[   ] Extra bottles of daily medications or copies of prescriptions with current expiration dates
[   ] Current photos of you and your pet(s) together
[   ] Pet comfort items: towels, blankets, toys
[   ] A list of hotels, motels and boarding kennels that accept pets
[   ] Detailed instructions for animal care and rescue workers
[   ] First aid kit for your pet(s)
[   ] Flashlights, batteries
[   ] Flat tire repair kit
[   ] Out-of-state telephone contact number
[   ] Label all pet supplies with your name, address and telephone number

More information about disaster planning for your pet.

  • Friends of the Pet Center
  • No More Dog Fighting
  • St. Augustine Humane Society
  • First Coast No More Homeless Pets
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First and foremost, we are public servants. Protecting people from animals and animals from people.