Foster a pet during storms

The Cayman Islands Humane Society
is appealing to the public to register to foster shelter animals during
hurricane season.

Should a storm threaten Grand Cayman,
the Humane Society will evacuate its shelter on North Sound Road, but due to
the current overcrowding in the shelter, the society is appealing for people to
take in animals on a temporary basis should an evacuation of the shelter become
necessary.

“Animals can detect stress and the
howling wind and rain of a storm or hurricane can be very stressful for dogs
and cats. We try to find foster homes for as many animals as possible and then
move into evacuation mode once the fostering is exhausted,” said Twila
Escalante, shelter liaison for the Humane Society.

All the animals left at the shelter
after the rest have gone to foster homes, go to a special room at Appleby where
they will be safe during a storm and are tended to by Humane Society staff
members.

“We still have the agreement in
place with Appleby to house all animals, and none stay at the shelter. We just
make a public service announcement prior to a storm, requesting anyone who will
foster, come and get an animal,” said Carolyn Parker, president of the Humane
Society.

“Appleby has generously allowed us
to use one of our buildings as a shelter for a few years now. The animals are
housed at Artemis House in sufficiently sized kennels,” said Ms Escalante.

Even when a hurricane is not
imminent, but a lot of wind and rain is expected, shelter animals can benefit
from foster care or a sleep over.

“We would be grateful for kind
volunteers to come forward to take a dog or a cat for a foster or sleepover,
just to get them out of the shelter and into a more comforting environment for
the duration of the storm,” said Ms Escalante.

Such fostering also provides an
ideal opportunity to see whether a cat or dog would get along with any current
pets and the Humane Society hopes that a number of such fostering opportunities
could turn into adoptions, helping to relieve the stress on the shelter.

However, Ms Parker said it is
important for anyone considering fostering an animal during a storm to be
confident their home will be safe during the storm, especially in the view of
flooding that can take place in low-lying areas.

Public storm shelters do not take
animals and while some people shelter at their offices, it is important to
check with an employer whether animals will be allowed there during a storm.
Some hotels will allow animals as well, so if you have to evacuate your home it
may be possible to book into a hotel. However, it is important to make plans as
far in advance as possible. Pet owners are urged to put together a portable pet
supplies kit for hurricane season as well, which should contain a first aid
kit, leashes or carriers for transport, current photos of the pet in case it
gets lost, food, water, bowls, kitty litter for cats and a pet bed.

Pet owners should make their pets a
central part of their hurricane season evacuation planning, as it is always
advisable to take pets along and not leave them home alone for the duration of
a storm.

Anyone interested in fostering an
animal during a storm can contact the Humane Society at 949-1461 or [email protected]
to be informed when the shelter will be evacuated. Volunteers are asked to
provide their telephone number, address and name and how many animals they
would be prepared to take. The Humane Society will provide the necessities for
the animal.

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