Discretion Bites: The Current State of Animal Emergency Planning

Author(s)

Paige Chretien

Details

Faculty editor: Tim Duane
Publication: Journal of Climate & Energy Law
Volume: 8
Issue:
Start Page: 249
Month: June
Year: 2017
Type: Comment

Abstract

Natural disasters have historically wreaked havoc on the lives of animals. Hurricane Katrina, which hit the gulf coast of Louisiana in 2005, exposed the tragic vulnerabilities of pets and pet owners in disasters and brought awareness to the significance of the human-animal bond.[1] As climate change will likely breed storms that are more deadly than their predecessors, planning and preparedness are essential to mitigating the impacts of these storms. The current status of animal emergency planning and preparedness in the state of California does not ensure that such vulnerable population will be adequately protected. Part I begins by discussing the relationship between climate change and the increased threat of natural disasters. The pervasiveness of the human-animal bond and the implications of that bond in the context of natural disasters are also considered. Part II discusses the legislative response to Hurricane Katrina both federally and in the state of California. Specifically addressed are the federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (“PETS”) Act and the California Animal Response Emergency System (“CARES”). Part III addresses the flaws in both the federal and state responses and how such flaws leave the implementation of animal planning and emergency at the discretion of lower level agencies. Whether the immunity that comes with discretion precludes any tort law cause of action that may otherwise have a deterrent effect is further analyzed. Part IV concludes and proposes changes to the current CARES program aimed at minimizing discretion in implementing animal emergency planning and preparedness efforts.