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In the wake of powerful hurricanes such as Harvey and Maria, it is important for coastal populations to make sure they're prepared should disaster strike. National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, which happens on the second Saturday in May, offers pet owners the opportunity to make sure a plan is in place should a catastrophic event occur. Having a plan ensures the best chance of safety. 

To make sure you and your pets are prepared, follow these steps:

  • Find a pet-friendly hotel. Keep a list of at least three pet-friendly hotels outside your immediate area.
  • Prepare a “Grab & Go” bag for your pets. Keep it filled with at least a five-day supply of essential pet items, and store it in a readily accessible area.
  • Make sure your pets have an ID tag that is fastened to their collar. 
  • If your pets are not yet microchipped, you should consider disaster preparedness a reason why they should be. 
  • Determine a family member, friend, or neighbor who is nearby and would be willing to take your animals with them in the event that you’re unable to make it home.

Create a pet emergency kit that includes:

  • Food, water, and medications to last at least five days.
  • Proof of current vaccination records for each pet.
  • Leashes/Collars, city licenses, rabies, and ID tags.
  • Properly sized and sturdy pet carriers for each pet.
  • Pet beds, toys, and treats.
  • Litter box, extra litter, and plastic bags for waste disposal.
  • Non-spill food and water bowls.
  • Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you're reunited.

**During a disaster, the Virginia Beach SPCA provides assistance to place pets in conjunction with Animal Control.  Due to limited space and resources, the VBSPCA can only accept pets owned by a City of Virginia Beach First Responder in the event of a storm. Publicly owned animals should refer to Animal Control. Reference the City website for details. With the exception of service animals, Red Cross emergency shelters do not accept pets due to the health and safety of the shelter occupants.