Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Americans were shocked to learn of the level of suffering endured not only by the human residents of New Orleans but also the animals. Due to lack of transportation options and planning, many beloved pets were left behind to weather the storm alone, and some pet owners died because they refused to leave their pets behind. In response to this problem, the U.S. Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act was passed, which requires local and state disaster plans to include provisions for household pets and service animals in the event of a major disaster or emergency. Great progress has been made. The response efforts to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike that hit the Gulf Coast in 2008 showed that state and federal agencies have begun to implement important disaster preparedness programs for animals. But disaster preparedness starts at home. The AVMA stresses that no family's disaster plan is complete until it includes pets, livestock and horses.
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW:
Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEODr. Heather Case, head of AVMA Disaster PreparednessContact: Tom McPheron, (847) 285-6781