If you're anywhere near the predicted path of Hurricane Florence, you've likely seen the graphic saying that hotels must legally allow pets in the event of a disaster, just invoke the Pets Evacuation Transportation and Standards Act. Unfortunately, that's not true. After a lot of research on the PETS Act and input from some lawyers, I learned that it was created after many people perished in Hurricane Katrina because they did not want to abandon their pets. Emergency response plans did not take pets into account so rescue teams were not equipped to evacuate animals and shelters were not equipped to house them. Instead of leaving them, people stayed with their animals and lives were lost unnecessarily. The Pets Evacuation Transportation and Standards Act requires that emergency preparedness operational plans take into account people AND their pets and allows for federal reimbursement for aid from states and businesses; however, this does not mean that businesses are lawfully required to do anything to help with evacuees and refugees. The act also only goes into effect once federal disaster declaration has been made. Because of the PETS Act, many lives (human and critter) have been saved in disasters because rescuers now have the training and ability to rescue animals with their families and there are shelters designated as pet friendly. For more information on the PETS Act, please visit https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/disaster/Pages/PETS-Act-FAQ.aspx Please do not use the PETS Act to attempt to coerce hotels into allowing your pets and let your family and friends know as well. Hotels may waive their policy and allow pets during evacuations but please understand that they don't legally have to. The spreading of this misinformation will likely put people and their pets in bad situations. If they assume any hotel HAS to accept them, they run the risk of being turned away and stranded somewhere, possibly in danger. There already tends to be mass hysteria surrounding hurricanes so please don't add to it with false information and try to force any business to do something they don't have to do. Continued in comments....

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