PETS Signed Into Law, Gives Emergency Plans Boost

On Oct. 10, 2006, President Bush signed the Pets Evaluation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS), a piece of legislation that ties a state’s pet emergency plans to its eligibility for federal funds. It was introduced in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, along with many regional programs that have unified veterinary professionals and created streamlined emergency processes.

Kevin Dennison, DVM, director of the Colorado State Animal Response Team (SART), believes that the PETS law is a step in the right direction, and “brings to light the Achilles heel of animal care during disasters, which is the fact that many communities and states do not have effective planning and response capacities for animal issues.”

To address that issue, SART programs have been formed to provide veterinary professionals with protocols that mirror the Federal Emergency Management Agency approach to disaster relief.

“Metaphorically, the PETS Act has set the table, but the food still needs to be prepared,” Dennison said. “I would urge veterinary practices across our nation to engage in supporting these processes in their communities and states.” In December, SART professionals will meet to establish a substantive dialogue concerning a coalition of such state programs and their national partners, Dennison said. They hope to establish goals for the coalition, address organizational issues, and funding, he added.

For more information and background, please read the March 8, 2006, NEWStat story about emergency preparedness.

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