Emergency Alert–Help for Shelters Housing Animals Evacuated in California Wildfires

Posted on October 23, 2007

Animal shelters and other animal protection organizations may gain temporary custody of animals who have been rescued and evacuated from the wildfires sweeping through southern California. Shelters without the resources to house large numbers of animals can adapt and use foster care forms developed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF’s) Criminal Justice Program as part of a foster care program to establish temporary foster homes for the animals.

Instructions for using ALDF’s foster care agreement and application forms

Sample foster agreement

Sample foster care application

Background on Animals in Disasters

In August 2006, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a Senate substitute to HR 3858, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which would give FEMA wider authority in developing disaster plans.

Introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) and in the Senate by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), both bills would require local and state disaster plans to include provisions for companion animals and service animals in the event of a major disaster or emergency.

The Senate substituted a more comprehensive version for HR 3858, which would grant FEMA the authority to assist in developing disaster plans and make financial contributions to state and local authorities to procure or construct emergency animal shelters, and allow the federal government to provide direct assistance during a disaster to help people with companion animals and service animals, as well as the animals themselves, following a major disaster. In September 2006, the House passed the Senate version of the Act, and in October 2006, the President signed the bill into law.