Should severe weather or a disaster strike in Forsyth County, the Forsyth County Animal Response Plan will be implemented. That plan, which calls for the activation of a number of pet-friendly and emergency animal shelters, was developed by former Animal Service Director Barbara Cassidy and a citizen task force. The Forsyth County Animal Response Plan, which is incorporated in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Operations Plan for Multi-Hazards, has been recognized by the North Carolina State Animal Response Team as the top animal response plan in North Carolina.

If you can't work at a temporary shelter but would still like to help animals, Forsyth County Animal Services maintains a list of pre-approved foster care providers. If you would like to provide a foster home for an animal that is a disaster victim, please complete the Foster Home Registration Form, and a staff member will contact you. We will make an appointment to visit you to discuss foster care requirements.

Our ability to help animals in a disaster will depend on the help of caring citizens and professional volunteers. Hurricanes, floods, train derailments, explosions and other disasters are devastating not only to us but also to our pets and livestock, who are frequently left helpless when disaster strikes. Thank you for helping us to save animals lives.

Plan Ahead

By planning ahead you can save the lives of your animals. Here are some important tips to remember:

  • Develop an evacuation plan that includes your animals. Review it and update it regularly. Learn the location of pet-friendly shelters and hotels and have a designated destination if you have to leave home. Contact friends or relatives in advance to see if you and your pets would be welcome during an emergency.
  • Check on area boarding kennels and veterinary hospitals. Find out if they have evacuation plans in event of a disaster.
  • Be prepared to evacuate when advised by local government authorities. Have all supplies, kits, transportation and evacuation locations ahead of time. If you are told to evacuate, do not leave companion animals home alone. If the situation is bad enough for you to leave, then your animals should not be left behind.

Prepare a pet emergency supply kit for your animals. The kit should include:

  • Current photos of your animal for identification, including close ups of any special identifying markings.
  • Proof of current rabies and distemper vaccinations (be sure to keep all vaccinations current on your pets).
  • Supply of any medications your pet may be taking. It's also a good idea to have a prescription for any medications your pets need in case you run out.
  • Water bowls and bottled water for three days per animal.
  • Food bowls and food for three days per animal.
  • Spray disinfectant, paper towels and plastic trash bags to handle animal waste properly.
  • Appropriate sized pet carrier or crate for each animal. Be sure to familiarize your animal with the crate before a disaster. It will be a safe haven if you do evacuate.
  • Towels, blankets, toys, brushes and combs.
  • Old newspapers.
  • Cat litter and disposable litter pans.
  • Flashlight and radio with extra batteries for each.

For large animals, pack the following supplies:

  • Halters, leads, tape, rope
  • ID bands
  • Fly spray
  • Medical supplies, including bandages
  • Three days' supply of food and water for each animal

If you decide to stay at home, please keep the following in mind:

  • Bring companion animals indoors. Do not leave domestic pets outside or tied up.
  • Prepare an area in the house where it's quiet and away from the windows.
  • Pets will be most comfortable in carriers or crates.
  • Let haltered livestock roam at large in fenced (not barbed wire) areas away from possible flying debris (tins roofs can be deadly). Do not leave livestock in the barn in case it collapses. Leaving a halter on the animal will facilitate capture if they do break loose.

Animal Services