NEW YORKThe ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauded the signing of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act into law by President George W. Bush late last week, as a significant move in ensuring that the needs of those with pets and service animals are taken into account while planning for disasters and emergencies.
“This law clearly acknowledges the very special place pets have in our lives and hearts,” said Ed Sayres, president of the ASPCA. “When America was ravaged by natural disasters last year, the thought of giving up or leaving behind their pets was heart wrenching for the thousands of Americans in the affected areas.”
The refusal of rescue agencies to evacuate pets with their owners after Hurricane Katrina received widespread criticism, and was a key factor in further complicating human rescue efforts, since several pet owners refused to abandon their pets during evacuation.
The federal law will require all states to present the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with pet evacuation plans before receiving federal funds for emergency preparedness. The law also authorizes FEMA to provide additional money to create pet-friendly shelters and provide special assistance to pet owners.
“Now the American people know that in event of an emergency, they will not have to choose between their personal safety and that of their pets simply for lack of planning,” continued Sayres. “By signing this bill into law, the President has acknowledged the importance of, and elevated, the human-animal bond.”