N.J. lawmakers look into easing transportation of pets during emergencies

What to do with the pets was an issue for some New Jersey residents who were forced to evacuate during Hurricane Sandy.

A measure advanced by a New Jersey Senate committee will make it easier to transport pets during emergencies.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van Drew allows those who need to use public transportation during emergency evacuations to take their pets on board.

“It doesn’t matter whether you like pets, whether you’re an animal lover or not. I happen to be, but the issue is a safety issue,” said Van Drew, D-Atlantic. “We found this before, very often, that there were problems related to people staying too long in their homes during evacuations because they love their dog or their cat and there’s nowhere to take it.”

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What’s more, he says, it can be a safety issue.

“Many people, particularly seniors, will not leave without their pet,” he said. “When they stay, they endanger themselves and they also endanger all the rescue workers and the emergency personnel around them.”

While many shelters are not pet-friendly, Van Drew says the office of emergency management in each county sets up separate shelters to give evacuees a temporary place for their pets to stay.

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