NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Ahead of Hurricane Irene's arrival, the ASPCA is urging pet owners not to leave home without your furry friends.
Tim Ricky, senior director of the Field Investigation and Response Department for the ASPCA, told 1010 WINS they're working hard to make sure people have a place to bring their pets in case an evacuation is ordered.
Ricky says pet owners can bring their pets with them to city shelters.
"There are 65 shelters throughout the city so many people will have the opportunity to take their pets with them," Ricky said. "The ASPCA is coordinating efforts to help staff many of those shelters."
If you have to leave your home, Ricky says don't leave your pet behind.
"If it is not safe for you to stay at your home, it is not safe for your pet to stay," said Ricky.
He says if you have an exotic animal, you may want to reach out to emergency management to find out where you could take your pet.
The city's Animal Care and Control shelters will be closed on Saturday and Sunday because of the storm.
But Julie Bank, executive director of the AC & C says the city is ready to help pet owners.
"Animals of New York City are something that the city and the planning task force is taking seriously," Bank told 1010 WINS.
Bank says if you do take your pet to a city shelter, be prepared.
"What they need to bring with them is as much materials and supplies that they can," Bank said. "If your animal has a crate, bring the crate. If it has a carrier, bring the carrier. Your animal will be required to be on leash. Bring any medical stuff and always make sure that you have identification on your animal's neck."
Here are some more key tips for keeping your pets safe during severe weather:
- Have extra pet food and water on hand plus any necessary medications.
- Make sure your pets are current on their vaccinations.
- Have a current photograph in case your pet gets lost.
- Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification and have a leash on hand.
- Have properly sized pet carriers for each animal.
- Have a place to take your pet – kennels, veterinary clinics and the homes of friends and relatives are all places you can take your pet in an emergency.
- Find a pet-friendly motel at www.petswelcomed.com.
For more information about planning for your pet, click here.
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