Authors of New Book on Animal Rescue Urge President Bush to Sign PETS Act and Save Lives

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When the Andersons do national media interviews about the importance of animal rescue, the questions often arise: With spiraling costs of rebuilding after disasters, should federal money be spent on saving animals in the future? Does the PETS Act put animals above people?

Supporting the PETS Act (Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act), Allen and Linda Anderson are Minneapolis-based authors of the new book, RESCUED: Saving Animals from Disaster with a foreword by U.S. Senator John Ensign (New World Library, September, 2006, 342 pages, 16 pages color photos, index, resources, ISBN: 1577315448, $16.95, According to a September 21, 2006 press release from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), one of the many national organizations the Andersons interviewed for their book, the PETS Act would “authorize the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) to make financial contributions to local and state plans that factor the needs of those with pets and service animals into such planning.”

When the Andersons do national media interviews about the importance of animal rescue, the questions often arise: With spiraling costs of rebuilding after disasters, should federal money be spent on saving animals in the future? Does the PETS Act put animals above people?

Allen Anderson answers, “When you rescue a pet you save an entire family. Katrina survivors told us that they lost everything but when they reunited with their pets, it gave them hope that they could recover. There has been a disconnect between policy makers and millions of people who would no more leave their pets behind in an emergency than they would abandon any other family member. People will endanger themselves or return in hazardous conditions to keep pets safe. Rescuers risk their lives trying to save survivors who wouldn't evacuate without their pets. Animal rescuers have to search through ravaged and infested areas for abandoned dogs and cats. The costs in human life and the expenses of disaster rescue increase with every pet that is not evacuated.”

The PETS Act was introduced by Representatives Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and co-sponsored by Representative James Oberstar (D-Minn.), among others, just as animal rescue operations were in full swing along the Gulf Coast. With fresh images of abandoned pets and bereft people, the House passed its version of the bill by a vote of 394 to 24. In August the Senate overwhelmingly passed an amended version. On September 20, the House unanimously approved the Senate-amended bill, allowing it to be sent to President Bush for signing into law.

A recent survey conducted by Best Friends Animal Society showed that 70 percent of pet owners view animals as family members. A Zogby International study found that 44 percent of those who refused to leave the Gulf Coast before and after Hurricane Katrina remained because they wouldn't abandon their pets. Since 66 percent of American homes have pets, the relationships between people and animals have evolved into ones in which pets are viewed as children, friends, and protectors.

With pets fulfilling emotional, physical, and health or service needs, animal rescue has come to fruition as a vital social movement and a necessity. Seven thousand animal organizations with 10,000,000 members represent and fight for legislation that addresses the concerns and values of animal lovers nationwide. The Andersons hope with their book to keep a national conversation going on how to strengthen animal rescue by preparing homes with pets for disasters and emergencies and spurring communities to develop effective lifesaving procedures.

RESCUED offers a history of animal rescue as an evolving social movement that is gaining in importance. It gives readers a comprehensive look at animal rescue as it occurs across the country everyday and in the largest animal rescue operation in history following Hurricane Katrina. The book demonstrates how animal sheltering has evolved into state-of-the-art facilities, how animal control has grown from the catch-and-kill mentality to law enforcement capabilities that curb animal abuse, and how national animal organizations' missions affect the lives of people who don't even have pets.

RESCUED has been called a journalistic achievement, a superb historical account, and a must-read for anyone with a pet and people who are considering volunteerism or careers in animal rescue. The Andersons and their publisher are donating a portion of the proceeds from RESCUED to animal rescue organizations.

Compelling, fascinating, and most important -- highly moral. — Ben Stein, author, actor, commentator

RESCUED is a riveting book about amazing people who truly make a huge difference to countless animals with whom we share our homes and our planet. Its personal stories about unsung and selfless heroes who work behind the scenes clearly illustrate the deep passions that bind us to a wide variety of animals. A must read that I couldn't put down, RESCUED will move you to action. --Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado; author of Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues and editor of the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior

Hurricane Katrina taught us that public policy must be revised to reflect the love between people and their nonhuman family members. With their finely written and touching book, RESCUED, Allen and Linda Anderson drive that point home. It is an important work that will warm the hearts of all readers whose animals are an indispensable part of the family. --Karen Dawn, founder of, nationwide media alerts for animals in the news

RESCUED shows you step-by-step how to prepare for times when evacuation of the home is the only option. The book offers vital, in-the-trenches information for saving animals' lives gleaned from hundreds of animal rescue organizations, experts, and volunteers. RESCUED inspires individuals, agencies, and the nation to take care of animals when disaster strikes and to make rescuing animals a vital part of healthy and enlightened communities. By relating powerful animal rescue and reunion stories from Hurricane Katrina, the Andersons remind us all to cherish the human-animal bond by preserving the bond. Read it and reap! --Dr. Marty Becker, resident veterinarian on Good Morning America, Knight Ridder Tribune veterinary columnist, author of The Healing Power of Pets and Fitness Unleashed

The Anderson's have placed animals center stage and taught us their value. This must-read, riveting account helps us understand that Hurricane Katrina caused the evolution of both the human and animal spirit. --Barbara J. Gislason, Chair, American Bar Association TIPS Animal Law Committee


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