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Mass. Bill Aims To Protect Pets During Disasters

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Massachusetts cities and towns would be required to come up with emergency evacuation and shelter plans for household pets under a bill making its way through the Statehouse.

On Thursday the Senate unanimously approved the proposal that would mandate that all municipal emergency evacuation plans include pets and service animals.

The bill would give cities and towns a year to come up with the new emergency plans to evacuate and shelter pets during disasters.

Sen. Karen Spilka, an Ashland Democrat, said the bill will ultimately help protect local residents since many pet owners are reluctant to abandon their pets during emergencies, putting themselves and first responders at risk.

The bill now heads to the Massachusetts House.

Backers of the bill say if it is passed, Massachusetts would join 13 other states with similar laws.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.