Mass. Towns Must Create Emergency Plans For Pets

June 4, 2014
In preparation for hurricane season, Massachusetts passed a new law that requires cities and towns to come up with emergency evacuation and sheltering plans for pets.

Leighton Jones is with the American Red Cross of Massachusetts. He said the law will help protect people as well as animals:

"People won’t evacuate their homes if they aren’t able to take their pets with them. Many people, myself included, consider their pet as a member of a family," he said. 

Pets aren't allowed in Red Cross shelters, but many towns will set up a pet shelter next door to the Red Cross shelter, Jones said. 

"We often will partner with a partner agency to set up a pet shelter immediately next to the Red Cross shelter.

Rob Halpin, of the MSPCA Angell Animal Hospital, said prior to the law, animals could just be left behind in a storm.

"As we've seen with Hurricane Sandy and with previous hurricanes in the US, many pets are never reunited with their owners," Halpin said.

Cities and towns have a year to come up with the new emergency plans.

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