In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) is seeking to gauge the effectiveness of a law he sponsored to help residents accommodate their pets during emergency evacuation situations.
The law (A-1929), enacted in 2006, requires state, county, and local offices of emergency management (OEM) to adopt emergency management plans that include provisions for the support and care of pets in emergency situations.
“Hurricane Katrina was an eye opener for us. People were refusing to leave their homes because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind and those that did leave were forced to abandon their pets. When we saw all the pleas for help finding missing pets in Katrina’s aftermath, we had hoped to minimize that problem for our state by enacting this law. Our goal was to both aid rescue workers and ease evacuation efforts by reassuring residents that they don’t have to leave their pets behind in an emergency,” said Burzichelli.
Burzichelli also noted that Governor Christie made it a point during press briefings to underscore that pets would be accommodated and residents evacuating should bring them along.
“I want to thank the Governor for underscoring this important fact, even during the height of the crisis. As people begin to regroup and recover in the wake of Sandy, I’d love to hear from displaced residents to see if our law has been effective and helpful when they had to evacuate. Were they able to find a shelter that would accommodate their pets? Were they aware they could bring their pets with them? What worked and what didn’t? These are all questions we would like to have answered so we can address any shortcomings moving forward,” added Burzichelli.
Burzichelli is encouraging residents who faced these situations to provide feedback either on his Facebook page or by emailing his office at: AsmBurzichelli@njleg.org.