FEMA: Considering Household Pets and Service Animals in Emergency Planning


Incorporating Household Pets and Service Animals Considerations into Emergency Operations Plans

  • 64 pages
  • Pre-Decisional Document
  • For Official Use Only
  • Not For Release to Third Parties
  • March 2009


Today, more than 60 percent of American households own a pet, an increase 2 from 56 percent in 1988. Nearly half of pet owners consider their animals to be 3 members of the family. The power of the relationship between people and their pets or service animals is readily apparent during disaster evacuations. Prior to the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, storm evacuees refused to leave their residences because first responders would not allow their pets to evacuate with them. This endangered or cost the lives of both the owners and their pets; as a result of this situation, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS)  Act was enacted by Congress in 2006. This legislation was designed to ensure that governments plan for the evacuation, rescue, sheltering, and essential needs of household pets and service animals in the wake of a disaster.


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