As part of its coverage of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last fall, PBS produced a excellent story thatdocuments how Katrina changed state and federal policies regarding the evacuation of pets during disasters.
During Katrina, people were not allowed to bring their pets with them when they were rescued, so rather than leaving their pets behind, thousands of people refused to be evacuated and stayed behind with their pets.
The fact that many of these people died and over 600,000 pets were killed or abandoned, Congress passed the PETS Act which “gave the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authority to provide rescue, care, shelter, and essential needs for people with household pets and service animals as well as the animals themselves in the case of a major disaster or emergency.”
I had no idea that responders refused evacuate pets during/after natural disasters, but I’m glad Congress changed that policy.
And isn’t it interesting that, despite constant infighting and gridlock, DC politicians found something they could all support: ensuring both people and their pets stay together during natural disaster evacuations.
Here’s the story from PBS: