Another proposed measure, the Animal Emergency Planning Act, was recently introduced in July. It would require businesses that house pets - including pet breeders, research facilities, animal carriers and animal handlers - to develop detailed contingency plans for animal care in cases of emergency.
Within the rescue community, two significant coalitions were formed within a year of Katrina: the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC) and the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP). Collectively, these two alliances have instilled and encouraged necessary collaboration, cooperation, and communication between welfare organizations and state agencies responsible for animals in disaster.
When you're saving lives in disasters of this magnitude, no organization can handle the needs alone - working together is crucial. Now we have processes and tools in place to help us work together more quickly and effectively.
But even with our best efforts, the greatest opportunity to help animals survive disasters is for owners to prepare for them in advance. All too often we encounter owners putting their own lives in danger to stay with their pets because they haven't made arrangements and then don't want to leave their companions behind.