Officials are reminding residents to include their cats and dogs in their evacuation plans, or risk being fined up to $300.

By Meghan Overdeep
July 12, 2019
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Leaving a pet tied up during a hurricane or flood isn’t just cruel, in Louisiana, it’s also illegal.

With soon-to-be-hurricane Barry bearing down on the Gulf Coast, officials are reminding residents to include their cats and dogs in their evacuation plans, or risk being fined up to $300.

In accordance with Louisiana law, once a city or parish has issued a disaster or emergency declaration it is illegal for residents to tie or tether a dog or cat "in a manner that exposes the dog or cat to extreme weather conditions."

At time of press, mandatory evacuations have been ordered for parts of Jefferson, Plaquemines, and Lafourche parishes.

Should a mandatory evacuation be called in New Orleans, WWLTV suggests that pet owners head to "evacuspots,” 17 designated locations were residents can access city-assisted evacuation busses. Pets under 20 lbs. can ride with you on the bus but must have a carrier.  Larger pets will be taken to the Union Passenger Terminal by the Louisiana SPCA and placed in an animal shelter to ride out the storm safely.

"No matter what the specifics of your plan are, follow this basic safety rule, if you are told to evacuate, leave immediately and take your animals,” Wanda Merling, deputy director for animal cruelty and response for the Humane Society of the United States, told AccuWeather“If it's not safe for you, it's not safe for them.”

WATCH: Tennessee Trucker and His School Bus Save 64 Shelter Animals From Hurricane Florence

For more information on safely caring for your pets during extreme weather conditions, visit Ready.gov/animals.

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