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August 08, 2023

Reps. Schiff, Titus, and Mast Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Assist Pet Owners During Disasters

Washington, DC — Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced theProviding Essential Temporary Shelter Assistance For Emergencies (PETSAFE) Act with Reps. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and Brian Mast (R-Fla.). 

ThebipartisanPETSAFE Actwould establish a pilot grant program for mobile pet shelters for use during emergencies and major disasters —helping pet owners temporarily shelter their pets during evacuations, providing transportation to safe locations, and reuniting pets with owners post-evacuation.

“As Californians experience repeated evacuation orders as a result of some of the largest and most destructive wildfires in our state’s history,  pet owners face the heart-wrenching challenge of finding shelter for their beloved animal companions. Our legislation provides refuge for pets during evacuations, ensuring they are safely and swiftly reunited with their families once it is safe to return home,”said Rep. Schiff.“Families should not have to make the choice between their pets and finding safe shelter during times of crisis.”

“Anyone affected by a major disaster knows that mandatory evacuations can mean uprooting the most important parts of your life. People are often reluctant to evacuate without their family’s furry friends. This commonsense legislation would require FEMA to fund mobile pet shelters to keep animals safe in the midst of disruptive events and an already difficult time. I'm proud to support an effort that builds off my PAW Act, signed into law last year, that directs FEMA to create guidelines to streamline pet rescue during natural disasters,”said Rep. Titus.

“Pets are members of our families, and no one wants to leave a member of their family behind in an emergency situation,” said Rep. Mast. “The PETSAFE Act can help make sure no one feels forced to put their own safety on the line in order to protect their pet.  It will help ensure the wellbeing of countless animals if – or when - the next hurricane hits the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches.”

“American Humane ensures the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals. ThePETSAFE Actaligns with our mission and efforts to protect a billion animals annually. We know the toll it takes on families living through a disaster or crisis and this new initiative will protect pets and bring joy through the reunion with their humans,”said  Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO, American Humane.

“As a humanitarian organization, the Red Cross upholds its mission to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. We understand the important emotional role that pets play in the lives of their owners and encourage people to develop emergency preparedness plans for themselves and their pets. In most communities, the Red Cross works with animal rescue groups to ensure that shelter residents and others in the community have a place to take their pets. When possible, Red Cross shelter workers will do all they can to accommodate domesticated pets comfortably, however, depending on the situation, pets may need to be housed in a different location with support from animal welfare groups. The Red Cross is also a proud member of the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC), which helps develop collaborative solutions to animal disaster response activities in coordination with emergency management officials. As a member of NARSC, the Red Cross works alongside groups, such as the American Humane Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to coordinate disaster relief,"said Joanne Nowlin, CEO of American Red Cross - Los Angeles Region.

The PETSAFE Act would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide pilot grant funds for state, local, and tribal governments for the purposes of creating mobile pet shelters. It would also require FEMA to submit a report to Congress assessing the effectiveness of the program.

This legislation is endorsed by the American Humane, Animal Incident Management Group (AIM), ASAR Training and Response, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP). 

It is cosponsored by Representatives Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Don Davis (D-N.C.), Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), and Deborah Ross (D-N.C.)

The full bill text for the PETSAFE Act is here.