Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Jersey Joins 8 States After Passing Law Dealing With Pet Evacuations In Emergencies: Counties To Prepare To Accommodate Pets During Evacuations

Excellent. Let’s hope more states follow. Here are some details of the law from the article below:

New Jersey's law, passed in August, complements a federal measure passed this year. It requires local and state emergency preparedness authorities to include pets and service animals in their disaster plans to qualify for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

New Jersey is in line to receive $92,000 in federal homeland security money to purchase six trailers - filled with items to set up temporary animal shelters and veterinary clinics - that could be deployed around the state during an emergency.

The trailers, each measuring 6 feet by 12 feet, will go in Burlington, Camden, Hudson, Ocean and Sussex Counties, as well as another location to be determined.

Hudson County received its trailer, stacked with dog crates and leashes, water bowls and pooper scoopers. It could be stationed next to an evacuation site such as a school, where people can stay inside but pets cannot. Red Cross shelters do not accept pets, unless they are service animals to help people with disabilities.

"If we can take care of the pets, and make sure people know their pets are being taken care of, they'll comply with evacuation [orders]," said Jim Woods, deputy coordinator of Hudson County's emergency management operation.


Article:

A legacy of Katrina: No pet left behind act
N.J. is implementing a law requiring counties to prepare to accommodate pets during evacuations.


http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/
16264758.htm?source=yahoodist&content=phi_news

By Janet Frankston Lorin
Associated Press

SECAUCUS, N.J. - When high waters from Hurricane Katrina filled Russell Parnell's home in Gulfport, Miss., he wouldn't evacuate without his pets: three dogs and a cat.

"The pets and me are a package deal," Parnell said. "We were all going to survive or perish."

Katrina forced people along the Gulf Coast to evacuate, but many people like Parnell couldn't stomach the idea of leaving their pets behind. Learning from Katrina, New Jersey lawmakers have passed a law requiring each of the state's 21 counties to make preparedness plans for pets during an evacuation.

New Jersey is among nine states that have passed laws dealing with pet evacuations. Several experts within the animal-welfare community say New Jersey is aggressively tackling the issue.

"It looks like New Jersey's law is one of the strongest in the country, as it prescribes very specific measures to help animals in disasters," said Michael Markarian, a vice president with the Humane Society of the United States.

While Katrina raised national awareness of pet preparedness, a New Jersey group had been working for more than two years to create guidelines for setting up emergency shelters for animals.

"It all comes down to planning ahead," said Barbara Dyer, a member of the committee and regional program coordinator of the Humane Society's mid-Atlantic office, which serves five states including New Jersey.

New Jersey's law, passed in August, complements a federal measure passed this year. It requires local and state emergency preparedness authorities to include pets and service animals in their disaster plans to qualify for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

New Jersey is in line to receive $92,000 in federal homeland security money to purchase six trailers - filled with items to set up temporary animal shelters and veterinary clinics - that could be deployed around the state during an emergency.

The trailers, each measuring 6 feet by 12 feet, will go in Burlington, Camden, Hudson, Ocean and Sussex Counties, as well as another location to be determined.

Hudson County received its trailer, stacked with dog crates and leashes, water bowls and pooper scoopers. It could be stationed next to an evacuation site such as a school, where people can stay inside but pets cannot. Red Cross shelters do not accept pets, unless they are service animals to help people with disabilities.

"If we can take care of the pets, and make sure people know their pets are being taken care of, they'll comply with evacuation [orders]," said Jim Woods, deputy coordinator of Hudson County's emergency management operation.

Evacuation would be no small task in New Jersey, where state officials give conservative estimates of more than 2.5 million dogs and more than 3 million cats, said Jeff Hamer, an assistant state veterinarian who traveled to Mississippi to help after Katrina.

The state's Agriculture Department, working with nonprofit groups like the Humane Society, is encouraging pet owners to start thinking about how they would prepare individually for an evacuation.

Dyer advises making a kit with pet medications, identification cards, licenses with contact information, leashes, carriers, food bowls and pet photos.

"You want to bring something to comfort them, a toy or blanket," she said.

Disaster plans could include identifying where Red Cross facilities are, so animal shelters can be set up nearby, and creating agreements with pet-supply companies and boarding facilities, said Niki Dawson, who wrote Hudson County's animal disaster response plan.

While the issue of pet preparedness had been discussed before Katrina, the mass evacuations along the Gulf Coast made governments across the nation more aware that people don't want to leave their pets behind in an emergency, said Charles M. Kuperus, New Jersey's agriculture secretary.

"It's an important issue for the public to know as part of response," he said. "There are people who will not leave their home unless they know their pet will be cared for."

That was the case with Parnell, 48, who wouldn't evacuate without his pets. He stayed in the house with them, and when it flooded, he secured the animals on a piece of plywood on top of a floating refrigerator.

If he had known about an evacuation plan, he would have considered leaving. But instead, Parnell spent eight hours in the waist-high water securing his four pets.

"I can truthfully say I will go through hell and high water with my pets, because I did," he said.

No comments:

Search for More Content

Custom Search
Bookmark and Share

Past Articles