Pet protection bill sent to Bush
September 21, 2006 12:02am CST
It was during Hurricane Katrina that people saw the images of anguished pet owners asked to abandon their animals to gain shelter or be rescued. "It became evident during Hurricane Katrina, when asked to choose between abandoning their pets (and) their own personal safety, many pet owners chose to risk their lives and remain with their pets, and some of them perished," said Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record), R-Conn. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat who has two beagles and a cocker spaniel, said the bill is about "compassion and the recognition of the importance of compassion in the life of this nation." The bill calls for state and local emergency preparedness plans to make provisions for families with pets and individuals with service animals. It grants the Federal Emergency Management Agency the authority to help state and local governments develop emergency and evacuation plans that take pets and service animals into account. It also authorizes some federal financial help for states establishing emergency shelters for people and their pets, and it permits FEMA to assist individuals with pets and service animals after a major disaster. Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said the change recognizes the fact that two-thirds of U.S. households have pets. "The legislation reflects the reality that if you do not care for animals and recognize the human-animal bond, you're going to undermine the effectiveness of any disaster preparedness or response plan," he said. The House passed the bill by voice vote. The Senate had passed it August. "If we treat pets like family during our daily lives, we've got to treat them like family during emergencies," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (news, bio, voting record), D-N.J., one of the sponsors of Senate's version of the bill. "Better emergency planning will mean more family members — including the family pet — will be able to get out of harm's way."
• United States
25 Oct 06
I rember seeing this. How horrible would that have been. I hope more people read this because pets are important to people. My dog is like my baby. I could never leave him and if I had to I would hurt so badly. These people lost everything.