Pet-Friendly Sheltering Online Training (FL-017)

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Course Date
August 2020

Course Overview

The Pet-Friendly Sheltering Online Training is the first of its kind to be offered in Florida. The training provides guidance to private, local and state entities on how to plan for and operate a pet-friendly shelter to ensure that individuals evacuating from a disaster with their household pets are accommodated. While this training will provide you with basic information and guidance, further training with local or state emergency management programs is essential to fully prepare for pet-friendly sheltering in your community. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services developed this training collaboratively with the Florida State Agricultural Response Team (SART). This training is state-certified by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (Course Code FL-017).

Course Objectives
At the completion of this online training, you should be able to:
Primary Audience

The target audience includes local and state government agencies, emergency management agencies, county employees, shelter volunteers, veterinary and animal care services, and persons involved with the planning and response for emergency sheltering of individuals and household pets during disasters.


Course Length

Total course length is approximately 4 hours to complete. You will be given 7 days to complete this training from the date you register. If you do not complete the training within 7 days, then your training registration will restart, and you will be required to complete the training from the beginning again.

Course Requirements
Students must pass the Final Exam to receive the state-certified Certificate of Completion.

Lesson 1
Lesson 1:
Welcome and Course Structure

Learn about the overall course objectives, the instructions for navigating through the course, how to receive credit for this course, and how to receive the Tool Kit upon successfully completing this course.

Lesson 2
Lesson 2:
Opening the Doors to Pet Friendly Sheltering

Lesson 2 is a course background lesson. The question of "Why Pet-Friendly Sheltering?" is introduced and participants will receive numbers and statistics on pet-friendly sheltering from previous disasters.

Lesson 3
Lesson 3:
Who's in Charge? Using ICS

Lesson 3 provides a brief overview of using ICS in pet-friendly shelters. An important aspect of this lesson is how to properly use ESFs during all phases of pet-friendly sheltering. Participants will learn about the coordination between ESF 6 and ESF 17 and the importance of that relationship's successful operations.

Lesson 4
Lesson 4:
What's Your Game Plan?

Lesson 4 will focus on planning a pet-friendly shelter. It will make recommendations for staff training, suggestions for where to set up pet-friendly shelters, and will go through the important elements of a pet-friendly shelter plan.

Lesson 5
Lesson 5:
Preparedness is a Partnership

Lesson 5 is about establishing partnerships. It will cover MOUs and MAAs, recommended trainings for pet-friendly shelter staff, and will help participants to identify agencies in their communities for partnership.

Lesson 6
Lesson 6:
Social Media and Beyond

Lesson 6 will focus on using social media for disseminating a unified message and providing the public with pet-friendly sheltering information. Accurate information is crucial for evacuations and this lesson will share some best practices.

Lesson 7
Lesson 7:
How to Set-up a Pet-Friendly Shelter

Lesson 7 will focus on best practices for setting-up and taking down pet-friendly shelters. Participants will be introduced to potential issues and will be provided several different checklists so they can be best prepared. This lesson will cover supplies, choices for enclosures/caging, setup and design, design considerations, species separation, indoor "pet walk," quarantine, storing cages and kennels, sanitizing animal items, and more.

Lesson 7
Final Exam

Laura Bevan

Humane Society of the United States

"I was blown away by the depth of the information provided in this training. It held my attention and the videos from around the state gave real life experience to the subject."

Colleeen Yarbrough

Florida State Animal Response Coalition

"This training will give someone with minimal experience in animal sheltering a very good starting point. My entire team will be mandated to take this course."

Joan Radabaugh

Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations

"The training is comprehensive and easy to understand and reference. The videos demonstrate how planning successfully benefits both large and small communities."

Mary Jo Maruca

Hillsborough County, Florida

"The Toolkit provided after taking the training is amazing! It is packed full of information so anyone would be able to set up a pet friendly shelter regardless of level of experience."

Tina Kimmett

Clemson University

"This training has solidified my understanding of pet-friendly sheltering and I am more confident in my ability to help others after learning how the concepts can be and have been practically applied. I highly recommend this training."

Paula Carroll

Jefferson County, Florida

"I feel that with this training we will succeed... I am much more equipped."