Most disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations. Service animals for people with disabilities are an exception in a large-scale disaster and may stay at the shelter. The Town of Brookline, when possible, will set up animal shelters in close proximity to "human" shelters in areas where the evacuation of neighborhood residents is necessary. Although SMART (The State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team) may be able to assist Brookline with animal sheltering accommodations

What You Can Do

  • Arrange for a neighbor to check on your pets and take care of them if a disaster occurs while you are not at home.
  • Plan ahead for a friend or relative outside the affected area to shelter your animals if necessary.
  • Keep your pet's ID tags up to date. Consider having your pet micro-chipped.


Make a disaster go-bag for each of your pets that includes the following:

  • Sturdy leashes and/or carriers to transport pets. Animal shelters may require owners to provide a pet carrier for each animal.
  • Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
  • Food and potable water, for at least 1 week. Bowls, cat litter and pan, plastic bags, can opener and pet toys. These items may not be immediately available in animal shelters.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, immunization records, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets.


  • Bring all pets into the house so that you won't have to search for them if you have to leave in a hurry.
  • Do not try and hold onto your pet during the shaking of an earthquake or explosion. Animals instinctively protect themselves and hide where they are safe.
  • Animals react differently under stress. Outside your home and in the car, keep dogs securely leashed. Transport cats in carriers. The most trustworthy pets may panic, hide, and try to escape or even bite or scratch.
  • When you return home, give your pets time to settle back into their routines. Consult your veterinarian if any behavioral problems persist.