new bill has just been introduced to require federal evacuation plans to protect pets

In response to the crisis of abandoned animals after Hurricane Katrina, you signed a petition on ThePetitionSite.com to urge Mayor Nagin of New Orleans to include pets in the city's evacuation order.

Over 85,000 people have signed this petition to date, and members of Congress are listening. A new bill has just been introduced to require federal evacuation plans to protect pets, and we urgently need your signature on a new petition to make sure it becomes law:

http://go.care2.com/e/gfO/bR/GCGe

As you know, too many people in New Orleans remained in the path of Katrina because officials wouldn't allow residents to bring their pets to shelters or on buses, and too many others had to leave their beloved pets behind.

Time is now running out for these abandoned animals. We need Congress to take immediate action and order the full support of federal responders and relief workers to save animals.

We also need Congress to make sure this never, ever happens again, by passing the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act, H.R. 3858), which was just introduced this week. Please sign this new petition today!

Federal disaster grants to state and local governments should include plans to protect pets in their evacuation plans.

Please support The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act, H.R. 3858), sponsored by Reps. Tom Lantos, Christopher Shays, and Barney Frank.

This new bill would require that the state and local disaster preparedness plans required for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding include provisions that will protect household pets and service animals.

GREEN CONSCIOUSNESS ASKS: HOW? WHAT PROVISIONS?
IS THIS JUST MORE MONEY FOR RESCUE GROUPS ,
OR DOES THIS BILL REQUIRE THE GOVT. TO EVACUATE PETS WITH THEIR OWNERS RATHER THAN SEPARATING THEM ?
ASK THIS QUESTION IN THE PETITION'S COMMENT SECTION .
I DO NOT WANT TO HAND OVER MY ANIMAL TO A HUMANE SOCIETY THAT WILL LOSE THEM AND THEN KILL THEM. I WANT THEM TO STAY WITH ME.

As Hurricane Rita roars toward the Gulf Coast today, your voice is being heard.

Officials with the Texas department of homeland security are allowing evacuees to bring their pets to shelters set up in Austin, Lufkin, College Station, San Antonio and Huntsville, which will accommodate at least 250,000 people.

Thank you so much for all you have already done to protect people and animals suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Please act today to help us make sure this tragedy never happens again:

http://go.care2.com/e/gfO/bR/GCGe Rebecca Young,Care2 and ThePetitionSite team

Thank you for signing "A Petition to Protect the Animal Victims of Hurricane Katrina" on ThePetitionSite

GO HERE to read about the bravery of people who would not leave their animals behind, their suffering ( and the callous behavior of our leaders).

"It's one at a time, and it's fairly slow work," said Michael Mountain, president and CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, one of the first animal organizations allowed in the city to rescue pets. (GC notes: they did not sit around waiting for permission like the more conservative groups - send them $)
"They are certainly all frightened," Mountain said. "The most difficult ones to work with are the cats who hide under furniture. The dogs tend to be easier. You can put out a treat for them, you can generally bring them to you."

While, many national organizations were held up at staging areas just outside the city, Best Friends had boats in the neighborhoods rescuing pets.

On Saturday, with the permission of the Jefferson Parish sheriff, Best Friends workers "broke in" to a pet store and saved about 140 pets -- from hamsters to snakes to tarantulas to birds -- Mountain said.

With federal agencies and law enforcement agencies overwhelmed with rescuing people, it has been left to animal welfare groups and civilians to help stranded pets.

"We weren't allowed into the really bad areas until just recently, so now we are playing catch-up," said Rubin, the Humane Society's vice president of field and disaster services.

The American Society for the Protection of Animals,
the Humane Society,
the Louisiana SPCA, and
the Texas SPCA are involved in the operation.
and obviously "Best Friends"

The Humane Society has 200 people in the field to handle the more than 2,000 requests it has received from people who have called a hotline or sent information.

The rescues are being conducted mostly by boat. Teams using inflatable rafts locate stranded pets and take them to a drop-off point, where they can be transported to a shelter.

Since Tuesday the Humane Society has rescued 90 dogs and 34 cats.

Mountain estimates his group has rescued between 800 and 900 animals since entering the city on August 30.

As soon as the pet arrives at a shelter it is photographed and checked for ID tags. The health of each pet is evaluated, and fluids and

At the Lamar Dixon Center in Gonzalez, Louisiana, 50 miles north of New Orleans, hundreds of people come every day looking for their pets.

For one man, forced to leave his pet when he evacuated, there's a sweet reunion with his dog, Miller. "Daddy came and got you, didn't he," the man said to his dog as he gave Miller a rub on the base of his neck.

For the rescuers and volunteers seeing a pet reunited with its owner fuels their effort.
"When people have lost everything and if you can reunite them with their pets, it makes such a difference in their lives," Rubin said.

Not without my dog - Not without my dog

In the desperate race to pull human survivors out of the flood, rescuers haven't been able to accommodate pets. Some people have refused to leave without them.

"When this thing happened, everybody was shooting at everybody. The only thing I trusted was my dogs. I'm not going to leave them," said Robert, a New Orleans man who would not give his last name.

"The government has to understand that people are not going to leave their pets," Rubin said.


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