Companion Animals and Natural Disasters: The U.S. Experience - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

1 / 20
About This Presentation

Companion Animals and Natural Disasters: The U.S. Experience


University of New Mexico. January 2009. Humans Have Greater Value? ... Population of companion animals in the United States (from APPMA 2005/06 survey) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:99
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 21
Provided by: mar287


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Companion Animals and Natural Disasters: The U.S. Experience

Companion Animals and Natural Disasters The
U.S. Experience
  • Marsha L. Baum
  • Professor of Law
  • University of New Mexico
  • January 2009

Humans Have Greater Value?
  • Law places greater value on humans
  • Models for Animal Welfare
  • Intrinsic value
  • Human-Animal Binary
  • Weighing the Harm (Simone Watson)
  • Companion Animals v. Other Non-human Animals
  • Treat all non-human animals the same (Siobhan

Legal Status of Non-Human Animals in the U.S.
  • Property or Person?
  • Standing (Northern Spotted Owl v. Lujan)
  • Court recognition of feelings human can develop
    for animal companion in tort actions - intangible
  • Ward to human guardian some municipalities have
    adopted this language
  • Predominant position is homocentric and property
    driven non-human animals valued for value to
    human animals (homocentric) rather than for
    intrinsic value of non-human animals (biocentric)

Legal Treatment of AnimalsPre-Katrina
  • No federal statutes regarding animal evacuation
  • Laws and regulations dealing with handling of
    carcasses and biohazard and dealing with disease
  • SART model developed in NC in 1999
    public/private partnership at the state level
  • No animals in shelters or on evacuation
  • CDC report of potential health risks
  • Prohibited by state health and safety regulations
  • Prohibitions on transport of animals out of state
  • Affected states prohibited transport of animals
    out of state
  • After prohibitions were lifted, some states would
    not take animals from the disaster area
  • Massachusetts refused to host animals for fear of
    diseases such as heartworm

Companion Animals and Their People
  • Population of companion animals in the United
    States (from APPMA 2005/06 survey)
  • Cats 90.5 million (34 of households)
  • Dogs 73.9 million (39 of households)
  • Birds 16.6 million, Reptiles - 11 million,
    Small animals 18.2 million

Bond between Humans and Non-Human Animals
  • 74 of dog owners, 60 of cat owners, and 45 of
    bird owners consider their companion animals
    children or family members
  • Psychological impact of loss

  • Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act
    of 2006
  • First federal legislation to address evacuation
    of companion animals and service animals
  • State and local emergency preparedness plans must
    take into account the needs of individuals with
    household pets and service animals
  • Amended the Stafford Disaster Relief and
    Emergency Assistance Act

Created new section (g) of 42 U.S.C. 5196b
  • (g) Standards for State and Local Emergency
    Preparedness Operational Plans.--In approving
    standards for State and local emergency
    preparedness operational plans pursuant to
    subsection (b)(3), the Director shall ensure that
    such plans take into account the needs of
    individuals with household pets and service
    animals prior to, during, and following a major
    disaster or emergency.''

Senate amendment provided funding opportunities
  • (2) The Director may make financial
    contributions, on the basis of programs or
    projects approved by the Director, to the States
    and local authorities for animal emergency
    preparedness purposes, including the procurement,
    construction, leasing, or renovating of emergency
    shelter facilities and materials that will
    accommodate people with pets and service

Essential Assistance to Include Household Pets
and Service Animals
  • Amended Section 403(a)(3) of the Robert T.
    Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
    Act (42 U.S.C. 5170b(a)(3))
    A DISASTER. Federal agencies may on the direction
    of the President, provide assistance essential to
    meeting immediate threats to life and property
    resulting from a major disaster, as follows(J)
    provision of rescue, care, shelter, and essential
    needs-- (i) to individuals with household pets
    and service animals and (ii) to such pets and

Remarks by Rep. Dennis Kucinich
  • Among the injustices incurred in the gulf coast
    were citizens forced to choose between their own
    safety and that of their pet or service animals.
    And the example that Mr. Lantos gave of the
    9-year-old boy who had to part with his beloved
    dog is an example of the heartbreak that all of
    us can relate to.
  • Some chose to compromise their own safety,
    unwilling to evacuate without their pet, despite
    the great risk to themselves and their families.
    Others were forced to leave these important
    friends behind, abandoned and alone. Animals were
    left to survive on their own with little hope of
    survival, causing the very understandable human
    emotions of pain and agony that accompanied this
  • Some, dependent upon a service animal for their
    own safety and survival, were made to leave their
    companions behind, a direct threat to their own

FEMA Regulations
  • Necessary expense means the cost associated with
    acquiring an item or items, obtaining a service,
    or paying for any other activity that meets a
    serious need. 44 C.F.R. 206.111

FEMA Disaster Assistance Policy 9523.19
  • Eligible Costs Related to Pet Evacuation and
    Sheltering (10/24/2007)
  • Expenses related to state and local government
    emergency pet evacuation and sheltering
  • Defines household pet, service animal, and
    congregate household pet shelters
  • Eligible for reimbursement only as long as pet
    owner is in 403 emergency sheltering
  • Included cataloging/tracking system as eligible

Definition household pet
  • See attached FEMA Disaster Assistance Policy.

FEMA Disaster Assistance Policies
  • A comparison research animals v. companion
    animals (DAP 9525.16 v. 9523.19)
  • Individual eligible facilities (zoos, research
    facilities, taxidermy collections at museums) can
    recover costs for actions to save animals and
    protect property v. only governmental entities
    can be reimbursed for evacuation and sheltering

State Action Post-Katrina
  • States are passing legislation requiring
    inclusion of animals in state disaster plans
  • E.g., Louisiana included animals in its disaster
    act in 2006 amendment
  • Overall emphasis on public education and personal
    responsibility for planning evacuation of pets
  • May not be able to get back to animals if leave
  • Economic status element personal pet disaster
    plan recommended e.g., go to pet friendly hotel

Animal Welfare Act Rationale Analogous to PETS
  • Right obtained under AWA is the right to have
    animal interests balanced against human interests
  • Generally human must have direct connection to
    event to have standing to bring suit
  • Rationale for PETS Act Take into account needs
    of individuals with household pets and service
    animals Louisiana Plan includes right of
    humans to take companion animals with them in
    evacuation only if no danger to other humans
    animal no interest on its own behalf

Does the legislation change the situation for the
  • Language
  • Wherever possible
  • Without endangering human life
  • Take into account in plans
  • Household pets
  • No consequences for failure to implement plans
  • FEMA funding dependent on state plan but not on
    implementation of plan
  • Possible penalties at state level? Fines?
    Liability for failure to act?
  • Debate included assurances that no funds would be
    taken from human rescue to implement

Likely Results?
  • Rescuers refuse to allow people to take pets
  • Evacuees with horse trailers turned away because
    of narrow road (wild fire in California June
  • Take pet with you but when get to transport with
    carrier are told no room
  • Shelters refuse to accept non-human animals
    including service animals for hygiene and public
    health reasons

  • Legislation recognizes human interest in
    companion animals and need to evacuate animals to
    save humans continues animals as property
  • Unclear impact legislation will have in face of
    disaster requires education of rescuers and
    victims, animal advocates being included in
    emergency planning
  • Focus on personal responsibility and need to find
    pet-friendly shelter has impact for those of
    lower socio-economic status requires funding
  • Recognition of intrinsic value of animals and
    animal self-interest in preservation needed to
    give substance to plans or alternatively to
    place consequences on failure to act both go
    against existing legal model of animals as
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)