No Fido or Fluffy left behind
Louisiana develops animal evacuation plans for hurricanes
Monday, July 17, 2006; Posted: 8:27 p.m. EDT (00:27 GMT)
After Katrina, some pet owners risked their lives when they weren't allowed to evacuate with their pets. SPECIAL REPORT
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (AP) -- A statewide plan to evacuate pets during hurricanes is being worked out by state and local officials, who are required to map the procedures under a new law enacted to avoid the problems that erupted after Hurricane Katrina struck.
The law applies to cats, dogs and other domesticated animals.
"I am greatly worried about the evacuation of pets from New Orleans," said Laura Maloney, executive director of the Louisiana branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "We have many unfilled needs. We have lots of shortages."
The law was prompted by pet evacuation problems during and after Katrina that resulted in the deaths or abandonment of thousands of cats and dogs. In some cases, pet owners endangered their own lives by refusing to abandon their animals.
The law requires the governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and their local counterparts to devise humane ways to evacuate and shelter cats and dogs during hurricanes. Service animals such as guide dogs are supposed to be evacuated with their owners. Household pets in carriers and cages will be allowed on public transportation if they do not endanger people.
State and local emergency officials are supposed to find animal shelters and draft regulations as well as set up an identification system so pets can be reunited with their owners should they become separated during storms.
Maloney said that, unlike last year before Katrina struck, pet owners will know where to find evacuation shelters.
State agriculture officials have asked operators of animal shelters, humane societies, veterinary offices, kennels, grooming facilities and other sites to provide copies of their evacuation plans by July 31 so they can be made public.
Link: http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/07/17/bc.na. ... index.html