OKLAHOMA CITY - As the spring storm season arrives in Tornado Alley, emergency officials are wrestling with a dilemma posed by man's best friends.

Many public shelters won't accept animals, so people end up dashing across town to rescue their pets or staying in unprotected houses rather than hunkering down in safety. Officials say that panicked pets cause problems in shelters when they're packed inside with people they don't know.

But many residents won't leave their pets behind, and some try to ride out dangerous storms in cars parked outside the shelters. Last year, 34 people were killed by twisters in Oklahoma, most of whom were in cars or unreinforced houses.