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Gov. DeSantis signs bill accommodating persons with pets in emergency shelters

The law will take effect July 1.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Monday that will require counties with designated emergency shelters to designate a shelter for persons with pets.

The bill, HB 705, would also require the Department of Education to play a part in strategizing evacuation for persons with pets in the state comprehensive emergency management plan.

The bill is intended to put Florida in line with the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006, which mandates state and local governments to consider persons with pets in their emergency preparedness plans and authorizes FEMA to provide rescue, care, shelter and essential needs to persons with pets and service animals following an emergency such as a natural disaster.

Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew of Polk County and Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo of Hillsborough County sponsored the measure.

The bill takes effect July 1.

Presently, the Comprehensive Emergency Management Basic Plan and the Statewide Emergency Shelter Plan suggest several considerations when developing a strategy to shelter a person with pets.

Those considerations include locating pet-friendly shelters that contain amenities such as  restrooms, running water, and proper lighting as well as allowing pet owners to interact and care for their animals.

Additionally, shelters should help ensure that the animals are being properly cared for during the emergency.

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capitol for Florida Politics. After his time with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studies Political Science & American Policy. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. You can reach Jason at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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