Your Legal Right to Take Your Pet Along When Being Evacuated
Thanks to a law known as the PETS Act, not just service animals but also plain old household pets must be included in any emergency preparedness operational plans by state and local authorities. And FEMA must provide rescue, care, shelter, and essential needs for both humans and pets following a major disaster or emergency. With that in mind, the American Kennel Club (AKC) says that if you plan accordingly, listen to your local authorities, and remain calm, you and your dog will be able to evacuate as smoothly as possible in the event of, say, a hurricane, wildfire, or other disaster.
The AKC specifically recommends the following:
-Take your dog’s emergency “go bag,” which should include essentials your pet will need, such as a few days’ supply of dog food, bottled water, treats, a first-aid kit, and any important paperwork.
-If time allows, take your dog’s favorite toy and/or blanket so she can feel comfortable while away from home. You might also grab some dog clothing for protection from the weather, such as your pet’s raincoat, warm jacket, or booties. If you’re at risk for a flood, take your dog’s life jacket.
-Put your dog on a leash and/or harness, with her identification tags securely attached.
-Follow instructions of emergency workers. Never think you know a better route; you may be unaware of blocked or dangerous roads.
-Go to a pet-friendly hotel near you or call your local Red Cross office to find a shelter nearby that accepts pets.
-Do not return home with your dog until authorities have explicitly said it is safe.