State Legislature passed a bill to include pets in disaster plans

BOSTON (WWLP) – When disaster strikes, many people don’t know what to do with the family pet. That could all change if Governor Patrick signs a law to include your furry friend in disaster plans.

More people own pets than ever before. There are more than 164 million pets in the country. When natural disasters strike, some people hesitate to leave because they don’t want to leave their pet behind, and that can become a public safety concern.

“If people don’t evacuate a situation they’re not only putting themselves at risk, but they’re also putting first responders at risk too that might have to go into an area where someone has stayed behind or delayed evacuation because it’s too late,” said Kara Holmquist of the MSPCA.

The Massachusetts House and Senate passed a bill that would require emergency evacuation plans to include household pets and service animals. If the bill is signed into law, supporters believe it will improve public safety by protecting both people and their animals. It will also provide basic needs to those that are displaced by emergencies or disasters. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for his approval and supporters are optimistic.

“I expect for the Governor to sign it. He’s a puppy lover, a dog lover too and he gets it,” said Ashland Senator Karen Spilka who is sponsoring the bill.

Senator Spilka believes that people shouldn’t have to suffer from leaving their pet behind in the wake of a nature disaster.

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