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AKC Endorses Federal PETS Act
June 2006

With predictions for another above-average hurricane season in 2006, and AKC survey results showing that an overwhelming majority of pet owners will refuse evacuation orders unless they can take their pets with them, the AKC is pleased to endorse and support the recently introduced S. 2548, the "Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006", known as "PETS". PETS amends the federal Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to require provisions for rescue, care, shelter and essential needs of pets and service animals and their families in emergency and disaster relief, and to require that such provisions be included in federal, state and local emergency and disaster preparedness plans.

AKC legislative liaisons can facilitate helping communities and states to establish these disaster preparedness plans. Fanciers have a very unique expertise when it comes to traveling with pets. Legislative liaisons can use this knowledge to assist their local and state governments in developing these plans. This also helps to build relationships that can be invaluable when animal control legislation is proposed.

The new brochure created by the Department of Homeland Security, Ready, is a great place to start. The brochure lays out the basics of creating an evacuation plan that will allow you to ensure the safety of your pet. Copies of the brochure can be printed from our website here or ordered by calling 1-800-BE-READY. AKC has also developed a checklist of everyday items and pet health care items. The checklist can be printed directly from our website here. These documents can assist fanciers and disaster planning officials in creating their local evacuation and emergency plans.

There are several very important reasons for fanciers to be included in this process. For example in Louisiana, H772, a bill to create a statewide pet registry that could be used to reunite animals with their owners after disasters, originally treated intact animals differently. The introduced version of the bill would have registered spayed/neutered animals for a one-time fee of $7.50, but would have required owners of intact animals to pay a $15.00 fee and to re-register every three years. The bill was amended to provide for a one-time $15.00 fee for all animals prior to it being sent to the Governor. It is important that fanciers be involved in these issues so that they can ensure that owners, breeders and those who participate in the sport of purebred dogs are protected under these new plans.

As part of AKC’s commitment to disaster preparedness, we have hired Marcy Zingler, a longtime fancier who has significant background working with clubs, including exposure as a breeder, delegate and judge to work full-time on these important issues. One of the things Marcy is charged with is investigating the possibility of creating a ready-to-go disaster kit for pets. This would contain things such as a folder for medical records, travel bowls and some basic first aid items. The plan is for AKC to sell these kits to individuals and in bulk to clubs so they could be sold as fundraisers. Marcy will be working in our New York office and can be reached at 212-696-8346.