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VERIFY: Hotels, shelters required to take pets during emergencies?

Posts on the internet are say there is a federal law requiring shelters and hotels to take pets. We went to the source to find out if it's true.
Credit: THOMAS B. SHEA/AFP/Getty Images
A father and son carry their dog as they evacuate from their homes the flood in Lakeside Estate in Houston, Texas on August 30, 2017.

If you’re forced to evacuate, can you take your household pets with you?

Many people consider their pets part of their family and would never consider leaving them behind. And we have seen a number of viral social media posts claiming a federal law mandates that hotels, motels, and shelters take your pet in if you’re under a state of emergency.

This is NOT true – and it’s dangerous for people to leave their homes thinking they can go to any hotel they want and it will be mandated to take them.

The social media posts often cite the PETS act that was passed after Hurricane Katrina. But the federal legislation only mandates that local governments think about how to accommodate animals. There is NO mandate to shelter them.

11Alive spoke to the Georgia Department of Agriculture on Thursday. The government agency is working together with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to designate pet-friendly shelters. But they said they have not activated that yet and even that mandate would not force every shelter to be pet-friendly – just some.

We spoke to a veterinarian who said that the best thing to do is make sure your pet is microchipped, have a pet carrier and plenty of food and water ready to go if you need to evacuate.

The following sites also maintain lists of animal-friendly travel options:


Georgia Department of Agriculture

► Catherine Howden, GEMA

Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006


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