In the aftermath of super-storm Sandy, New Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli wants to know if a law he sponsored to help residents accommodate their pets during emergency evacuation situations is actually working.

The law 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.

Kitten (Flickr: nicsuzor)

Burzichelli says, “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.”

The Assemblyman wants to hear from displaced residents to see if the law has been effective and helpful when they had to evacuate. He’s hoping to find out if they were 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 work?  Burzichelli says these are questions he’d like to have answered so that the state can address any shortcomings moving forward.

Burzichelli is encouraging residents who faced these situations to provide feedback either on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/johnburzichelli or by emailing his office at:  AsmBurzichelli@njleg.org.