Sunshine Pavilion to be available as pet-friendly shelter

December 31, 2013 by  

In the past, many people resisted being evacuated when they were threatened by a storm because they were reluctant to leave their pets behind. The Sunshine Pavilion, officially known as the E. Darwin Fuchs Pavilion, will be designated a pet-friendly shelter and will guarantee space for up to 350 people and 150 pets.

The pavilion is located on the Miami-Dade County fairgrounds and has been opened as a pet-friendly shelter in the past, but fleeing Keys residents did not themselves of it. A brochure or flyer printing to be dispensed in veterinary offices would be a good way to spread the word about the service available.

For the last 20 years, people from the keys were sent to the Florida International University Campus (FIU) for shelter. Last spring, when the agreement expired, FIU administrators advised Monroe County officials that the arrangement no longer worked for them. While the student-activities building will no longer be available for regular evacuees, special needs patients will still be relocated to FIU’s Recreation Center.

The Sunshine Pavilion is a warehouse-like building that contains bathrooms and a food-service area. The building is 49,000 square feet and designed to withstand winds up to 170 mph. The pavilion is a suitable choice for other reasons, such as its location near the previous shelter at FIU, ample parking, and quick access from the Florida Turnpike.

Emergency planners in Monroe County are looking to shelter up to 3,000 in the event of a major storm. The county has not issued a mandatory evacuation since 2005 and Hurricane Wilma.