Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bill to Help Evacuate Pets / Companion Animals During Times of Disasters Sent to Bush to Sign

Great news. Well, it’s not perfect of course, but it at least provides a start in realizing the important need to make emergency preparedness plans for families to also evacuate pets/companion animals. And, Bush does hate animals, so we’ll see if he even signs it.

As most know, the government not only abandoned many people in the Katrina disaster, but also their pets. A horrible situation arose and this bill came from it. Here’s a posting on Katrina and pet rescues -
http://geari.blogspot.com/2006/07/
dark-water-rising-truth-about.html

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to touch on evacuation in war zones. And, as we saw in Lebanon, the US was the one entity to not help with pet evacuations. I’d say as the world goes these days, we will see more war and the military needs to address pet evacuation as well. Here is a posting on pet evacuations and war -
http://geari.blogspot.com/2006/07/
follow-up-from-post-on-us-military.html

Here are a few points of the legislation. I’ll post more as I know more:

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.


Article:

Pet Protection Bill Sent to Bush

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/P/
PET_EVACUATION?SITE=CAACS&SECTION
=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

By MARY DALRYMPLE , 09.20.2006, 07:33 PM


Congress called for emergency preparedness plans that include helping individuals and families with pets, under legislation sent Wednesday to President Bush.

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, 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, 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."

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