After Hurricanes, Titus Re-Introduces Legislation to Protect Animals during Natural Disasters

Sep 15, 2017
Press Release

September 15, 2017

After Hurricanes, Titus Re-Introduces Legislation to Protect Animals during Natural Disasters

Washington, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District announced the re-introduction of the Animal Emergency Planning Act, H.R. 3792, legislation she authored to require entities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act to adopt emergency contingency plans, using federally established standards, in order to better protect the safety and well-being of animals during natural and manmade disasters.

In order to minimize the impact of disasters, Rep. Titus’ legislation requires breeding facilities, commercial animal dealers, and research facilities to develop emergency response plans for animals under their care and demonstrate a level of preparedness.

“With the images of flamingos, dolphins, domestic pets and other species fleeing or abandoned in the path of natural disasters, the recent catastrophic weather events in our nation serve as a reminder of the need to help protect those creatures that cannot protect themselves in an emergency. It is only fair and reasonable to require a demonstration of readiness from those who earn a living from animal-related businesses. Not doing so jeopardizes the safety of first-responders, citizens, and the creatures themselves when disaster strikes.”

Rep. Titus, who introduced the legislation in the 113th Congress and 114th Congress, worked with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the Humane Society of the United States, and Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) on the bipartisan legislation.

“When disaster strikes, the devastating impact on animals can often be overlooked,” said Rep. Donovan, Chairman of the Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee. “In just the past few weeks, we have seen numerous heartbreaking images of displaced and abandoned animals, as well as brave first responders risking their lives to save them, following devastating storms in Texas and Florida. We know that many of these situations can be mitigated through proper emergency planning, and this bill will help ensure that commercial animal facilities implement measures to better protect animals during disaster situations.” 

“In recent weeks, the ASPCA has assisted with the evacuation, field rescue, and sheltering of hundreds of displaced animals impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Preparing for disasters like these in advance helps protect animals and the people who risk their lives to save them. We thank Representatives Titus and Donovan for their work to ensure Animal Welfare Act license holders address the needs of the animals in their care through emergency response plans.”

“The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund encourage every pet owner to have a disaster plan for their animals, and it only makes sense that commercial operations with animals under their care should have the responsibility to plan for emergencies too. We urge Congress to swiftly adopt this common-sense reform and help improve disaster preparedness for federally licensed animal dealers and facilities,” stated Mike Markarian, President of Humane Society Legislative Fund.