Every year we hear concerns about “an active hurricane season” or “perfect” conditions for wildfires. These natural disasters can devastate families, including our pets. But, legislation, along with a national campaign to proactively prepare for disasters, has not only provided needed relief and comfort, it’s helped keep families together!
No one will ever forget the images of a hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast or the bleak desolation of a wildfire. Media inundates us with pictures of human misery and also the suffering and plight of the animals. Abandoned pets, forcible separations, and video of dogs and cats desperate to survive have now been etched deeply into our memories.
After the disastrous 2005 hurricane season, new legislation mandating the accounting for people’s pets in disaster plans was proposed and enacted. The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act) was signed into law in 2006. This bi-partisan initiative insures that any state asking for federal assistance in emergency situations must have plans for accommodating pets and service animals during evacuations.