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4.4 Service Animals and Household Pets

Household pets and service animals present complexities in managing all-hazards disasters, including biological incidents. In past disasters, pet owners have chosen not to comply with recommended evacuation if accommodations for their pets could not be guaranteed, which increased risks to life safety for evacuees, responders, and animals. To promote human safety in disaster situations, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006 was passed. The PETS Act requires state and local planners to plan for the mass care of household pets and service animals during mass sheltering and evacuation operations, including provision of veterinary care.

During a biological incident, household pets and service animals present even greater complexities. In addition to considerations laid out in the PETS Act, emergency managers must also consider planning scenarios in which the pathogen causing the biological incident may be transmissible from animal to person, from animal to animal, and/or from person to animal.

What Will You Need to Know?

  • How many pets and service animals reside within your jurisdiction?
  • What protective actions will your jurisdiction take for responders and the public when providing mass care to humans and animals during a zoonotic incident?