|Purred: Fri Sep 19, '08 9:59am PST |
|HURRICANES | New rule means animals evacuate with owners
Hurricane Ike was about as mighty and destructive as they come, but it couldn't break the bond between Nora Smallwood and her two dogs. She'd just as soon drown than abandon them to Mother Nature's fury.
''They're my life,'' the 78-year-old said after being evacuated from her home in La Marque, near Galveston. ''There was just no way I was going to leave them.''
Luckily, she didn't have to. She usually visits Honey and T.T. twice a day, riding a city bus to the Austin Humane Society from her shelter at the convention center.
Like Smallwood, hundreds along the Gulf Coast evacuated with their pets before hurricanes Gustav and Ike roared ashore this month -- unlike in Katrina in 2005.
Many Louisiana residents were not allowed to take pets on buses, causing more anguish. Others refused to leave their animals behind, leaving many to perish with their pets.
That led to the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, passed by Congress in 2006 to make sure state and local governments help pets during a major disaster or emergency. Texas passed a similar law last year.
''This act is not only saving pets' lives -- it's saving human lives,'' said Scott Haisley of the Humane Society of the United States.
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