The PETS Act: Companion Animals Affected by Natural Disasters

From The Animal Legal Defense Fund: For More Info, Go Here…

When a natural disaster is coming, it’s essential to have lifesaving plans in place — including for your animal family members.

Knowing the law is an important part of planning. This is an overview of the key federal law that affects companion animals in a natural disaster: The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, better known as the PETS Act.

What is the PETS Act?

The PETS Act is a federal law that was passed in 2006 shortly after Hurricane Katrina. In order for states, cities, and counties to receive federal funding for their disaster relief plans, those plans must “account for the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals before, during, and following a major disaster or emergency.” Since then, more than 30 states have amended their disaster relief plans to account for the needs of companion animals and service animals.

The Act allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide funding to states and localities for the creation, operation, and maintenance of pet-friendly emergency shelters, along with other emergency preparedness actions for companion and service animals. FEMA is also permitted to reimburse state and local governments for rescuing, caring for, and sheltering animals in an emergency.

It’s important to know what the PETS Act does, as well as what the law doesn’t do. Frequently, misinformation will spread about what the PETS Act does and does not require. For example, one common — and incorrect — assertion that is regularly shared on social media is that the law requires hotels and motels to accept evacuees’ companion animals. This is not the case. Hotels and motels are not required to accept animals. This misconception is so common, and so wrong, that FEMA has addressed it on the “rumors” section of its website.

Because of the PETS Act, it’s more likely your community has an emergency shelter that can accommodate companion animals. Find out where that shelter is before the disaster or emergency hits.

And also be sure you find out what will be required of you and your animals to stay there. For instance, it’s often required that you provide proof that your animals are licensed and vaccinated. You may also need to bring a crate and food with you.

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