Pet-friendly shelter opens in Brevard County

Paula Milton and her cat, Atlanta, are two of the first evacuees to check into the emergency shelter at the Viera Regional Community Center. 

“Man I’m scared to death.  I’ve been in tears all day long,” said Milton. 

She’s only been in Florida nine days, making the long move from Colorado.  She never thought she’d be dealing with a hurricane so soon. 

“I’ve been around blizzards, tornadoes earth quakes never have I been this close to a hurricane and I’m scared,” said Milton.

Milton lives in Melbourne on the mainland.  She didn’t think she’d have to evacuate but she’s new to living in a mobile home and got some unexpected news this morning. 

“They said we have to evacuate, it was mandatory we have to evacuate,” said Milton.  

Paula packed enough canned food for her and Atlanta along with kitty litter, a few hygiene products and a few comforts from home.  She showed up at the shelter early to make sure she could get in. 

Other folks in Brevard didn’t seem to have the same sense of urgency.  Driving through Satellite Beach tonight it appears only one in every five houses had plywood or hurricane shutters covering the windows.  Hanano Saydo was busy boarding up his house.  He’s not sure what some of his neighbors are thinking. 

“The governor gave fair warning to everyone don’t wait until the last minute, you can replace material stuff, you can’t replace life,” said Saydo. 

He and his family are heading west as soon as their house is secured tonight. 

As for Paula and Atlanta, they’re settling in at the shelter glad they won’t be facing their first hurricane alone.

“I’m alright.  I’m alright. I’m going to be okay. Whatever happens out there happens out there. When they tell me to go home I’ll go home,” said Milton. 

There were about 2 dozen people at the shelter by 8 pm Wednesday night.  The folks manning the shelter expect to be packed by the time Hurricane Matthew hits.