In a time of sharp partisan divides, legislators have come together for our pets. The Senate (unanimously) and the House of Representatives have passed the Planning for Animal Wellness, or PAW Act. If signed into law by the president, it would prompt FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to convene a working group of experts to review current best practices for animals in emergencies and natural disasters and issue new guidance if required. In other words, evacuation strategies and other care for cats in storms and fires will be updated as information comes in about how to improve them rather than remain stagnant.
Legislation was put into place after Hurricane Katrina to help ensure that animals do not have to be abandoned during climate emergencies. The new law will make emergency resources even more efficient and accessible so that people do not have to make heartbreaking decisions to protect themselves while leaving their pets vulnerable.