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Change for the Better

A man in a shelter with two dogs

The old saying is that every cloud has a silver lining. Perhaps one of the silver linings of Hurricane Katrina is that changes have occurred in laws that govern evacuations and shelters.

Now there is a federal law called the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which requires every local or state disaster response agency receiving funding from FEMA to have in place a disaster plan for animals, particularly household pets and service animals. In other words, there has to be a plan that provides for both the people who are bringing their pets and for the pets. Over thirty states have also enacted their own laws to make sure that pets are taken care of during disasters. These laws generally require that shelters be established that will not only allow household pets and service animals to stay at the shelter but will also provide the means to care for them.

Evacuating still will be an unhappy time but at least people can be sure that their whole family is safe from the storm.