Senate Passes Federal ‘PETS’ Act

On August 3, 2006 the U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, amended H.R. 3858, the House-passed...

On August 3, 2006 the U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, amended H.R. 3858, the House-passed version of the “Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006” (PETS), to replace the weaker House language with the stronger language of the Senate’s PETS Act, S. 2548, which was endorsed and supported by the AKC.  The amended bill will now have to go back to the House of Representatives for concurrence with the Senate amendment, which is expected.  However, the House of Representatives is in recess until after Labor Day, so House action will not take place until September, at the earliest.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs incorporated the language of S. 2548 into the “Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006”, S. 3721.  Thus, even if the House does not get around to acting on the Senate version of H.R. 3858, the Senate version of PETS is still likely to be enacted into law as part of the post-Katrina emergency relief bill, a must-pass piece of legislation for this Congress.

Even though it now appears that the Senate version of PETS is almost certain to be enacted into law, fanciers should still contact their members of Congress to express continued support for this important legislation.  The message to your Representative should be to concur in the Senate amendment to H.R. 3858.  The message to your Senators should be to retain the provisions of S. 2548 in S. 3721 when it comes to the Senate floor in September, and to promptly enact S. 3721.

With the 2006 hurricane season already well underway, and with a recent AKC survey showing that a majority of pet owners would refuse evacuation orders if they were unable to take their pets with them, it is essential that Congress pass the PETS Act, as well as the post-Katrina relief bill, promptly.  The Senate version of PETS not only requires that state and local emergency plans include provisions for persons with pets, but also authorizes appropriations for including the needs of persons with pets in emergency planning, and for provisions for pets in planning, leasing and construction of emergency shelter facilities.