The state Senate has approved a bill that would allow companion animals to board Metropolitan Transportation Authority vehicles during states of emergency or times of evacuation.
Domestic animals permitted on MTA transit would need to be leashed, tethered, or in an appropriate carrier, and exceptions could be made if there is “reasonable cause” to believe that allowing the animal to board could cause a health or safety hazard, according to the bill. Under the state Pet Evacuation and Sheltering Act of 2006, disaster preparedness plans must include programs to assist household pets and service animals in the event of an emergency. The proposed law, according to the Senate, seeks to fulfill this goal, and is also a counterpart to similar legislation approved by New Jersey in 2013 to address related bi-state Port Authority of New York and New Jersey animal transportation issues.
“In the aftermath of [Superstorm] Sandy, I deeply appreciated the work of local animal rescue groups in their attempts to shelter pets that became homeless as a result of the storm and to reunite lost animals with their worried owners,” said state Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “Providing pet owners with the opportunity to take their dogs, cats and other domestic animals with them during emergencies and evacuations makes good and compassionate sense on any number of levels.”
In the Assembly, the bill is currently under review by the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions.
By Forum Staff