Know Before You Go: Furry Family Members Not Allowed In Some Public Shelters
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - When severe weather strikes, before you head for safety, it's important to know some community shelters have rules about what, or whom, you can and cannot bring in.
At Northeastern State University's Broken Arrow Campus, officials say your best bet is to leave your furry friends at home.
"Give your self plenty of time to get here," said Sgt. Brent Young, with NSU Police.
Last week, the Northeastern State Broken Arrow Campus crammed 500 people into their community shelters.
But officials say they have to consider how to keep people safe from what's inside the shelter, as well as what's approaching outside.
"They're not used to our pets and our pets aren't used to them, and it becomes quite chaotic if you bring an actual pet here," Young said.
During tornado warnings, the campus allows only service animals to be brought into their safe rooms.
That said, Young says, "We're not going to turn anybody out into a situation of danger because they happen to bring Fluffy with them. That would be something we would not ever do."
The Broken Arrow campus has several safe rooms. Students know the difference between the safe rooms and regular classrooms by whether the room as a steel door.
For student Meryl Taylor, and many others, her pets are like her children. She said they're coming with, if they decide to head to a community shelter.
"I just want my dogs with me. It's family," Taylor said.
"The community built this campus and by letting the community make use of our safe rooms, it's an opportunity to give back," said Christee Jenlink, Dean of the NSU Broken Arrow campus.
Policies vary from shelter to shelter. In the case of a weather emergency, you may want to crate your animal before heading to a shelter and keep larger breeds in a safe place at home, if possible.