Sheraton Luxuries Pet Newsletter-Important Pet Bill

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Congress Considers Pets in Bill
Wade Phillips

A bill pending in Congress may mean more pets will be evacuating with their owners the next time a hurricane bears down on the Gulf Coast.

The Lauderdale County Animal Shelter stays packed with dogs and cats and gets a little more crowded every time a hurricane threatens the Gulf Coast. Many pet owners bring their animals north to escape the storm. This year it may be even worse.

"I've been told we may be a location for a lot more animals if we have another hurricane," said Dewayne Sosebee.

One of the reasons may be a bill in Congress that could force states and cities to factor in pets in their hurricane evacuation plans. That means trying to find a place for them to go when their owners leave.

Pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters, though officials with the Red Cross say they've worked with owners in the past to try to find a place for them. They say this new bill would make that work even harder.

"I think we need to get with the Humane Society and veterinarians and come up with a plan for what we're going to do," said Gordon Stewart of the American red Cross Key Chapter.

Sosebee and other animal control officials statewide are already working on that plan. It will likely include extra cages being provided by the state for the local shelter and a portable shelter in a trailer recently purchased by the state.

"Most everyone I know that deals with this is working on it right now. It's something that's new for us," said Sosebee

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