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Dear Senator: Remember Katrina. Pass PETS Act.

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The Honorable Senator _________________________________
The U.S. Senate, U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator ________________________________________,

I'm a registered voter who closely follows my legislators' stance on animal protection bills. I hope you advocate passage of S. 2548, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act.

Introduced by Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), PETS empowers the Director of FEMA to designate funds for animal preparedness plans, including the procurement, construction, leasing, or repair of emergency shelter facilities. Please cosponsor S. 2548 and ensure it contains terms for an equitable allocation of monetary aid to states and communities for animal disaster response planning and implementation.

Hurricane Katrina portrayed the fallout of disaster arrangements with no animal component. An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 animals were stranded in New Orleans alone. This figure doesn't encompass surrounding parishes or Mississippi. While about 15,000 animals were saved, as many as 90,000 perished. Sometimes, their devoted guardians died alongside them.

In April, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) told Stamford Advocate reporters: "Hurricane Katrina taught us that many people will not evacuate if they will have to leave pets behind."

Indeed, last September CNN reported the top reason people declined to vacate homes under Mayor Ray Nagin's mandatory evacuations: "People won't leave their pets... The thing with pets is a huge deal. Some people are told they can bring them. Others are told they can't and they are staying."

Scott Sherman refused to evacuate without his dogs. Scott, along with others who stayed beside beloved pets, is listed among the hurricane dead. Plainly, an animal's survival is often integral to the survival of his caregivers.

Unforgivable images are forever etched in our nation's conscience. Denise Okojo clung to her seeing-eye service dog in the shadows of her swamped apartment. When a helicopter team arrived, Okojo was ordered to leave Molly, a Labrador retriever, behind. The blind woman said goodbye to her "eyes" and sole companion.

Judy and Santo Migliore's home was washed away in the levee breach. As they evacuated on to a barge, an official threatened to handcuff Judy if she did not leave GiGi, her 10-pound poodle, with a St. Bernard Parish Deputy. A month later, a photo arrived via email. "I'm so sorry if this is GiGi," an animal rescuer wrote. In the photo, a tangle of white fur rested atop a puddle of feces and blood. Patches of sunlight framed the dead dog and a discarded cigarette butt lay by her head.

Countless GiGis and Mollys succumbed to wind, water, poison, starvation and dehydration. Others were shipped to shelters around the U.S., never to see their families again.

I urge you to support passage of the PETS Act. We can never adequately respond to emergencies until protocols and resources enable all states to assist animals and their human family members.

Thank you,

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UPDATE: Federal Pet Evacuation & Transportation Standards Act Passes
10/10/06: It's Law: Bush Signs Pet Evacuation & Transportation Standards (PETS) Act
5/22/06: U.S. House Approves Pet Evacuation Act

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as Kinship Circle joins many other animal groups in the fight to save animal lives, we also initiate letter campaigns to Congress and President Bush demanding a national disaster preparedness plan with provisions for animals. Disaster victims should never have to choose between survival and their pets. Yet that is exactly what happened in Katrina's wake. The images are unforgivable: A white dog is ripped from a boy's arms as he boards a bus. A bewildered yellow Lab watches his family disappear in a helicopter. An elderly woman cannot receive medical care unless she deserts her cats. More than 50,000 Louisiana animals were stranded in Katrina's path. Numbers are unknown for Mississippi.

Katrina's human death toll might have been lower if an enforced plan to accommodate animals had been in place... Kinship Circle letters ask for passage of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act). In 2006, President Bush signs this bill into law. States are required to help evacuate companion animals during a natural disaster or risk losing federal money.

===========================================================================================================, Inc.
American Humane
PETITION: Protect Animals During Times of Disaster! Target: Senators

To identify federal legislators and find contact info, try:
USA Senate
Fund for Animals Action Center
HSUS - Find your elected officials
Project Vote Smart
Congressional Switchboard: 202-224-3121
DISCLAIMER: Information in these materials is verified with original source. Kinship Circle does not assume responsibility for accuracy of information or for consequences of its use. Nothing on this website intends to encourage illegal action in whatever country you are reading it in. Kinship Circle does not engage in, nor support, any form of harassment or unlawful action. Nothing in this alert serves to promote such conduct.

EMAIL ADDRESSES: Kinship Circle cannot guarantee validity of email addresses. During a campaign, recipients may change or disable their email addresses. Email addresses obtained from government or other official websites may be outdated or incorrect.
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Kinship Circle is a nonprofit focused in: Animal Cruelty Investigation & Action, Humane Education, and Disaster Animal Response.
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