Los Angeles--Carole Raphaelle Davis
The Sate Department has confirmed on its toll-free emergency consular services number that U.S. citizens being evacuated on U.S. chartered emergency flights out of Egypt will not be allowed to bring pets. Pets will not be permitted on evacuation flights.
The Companion Animal Protection Society is looking into a possible violation of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 which includes household pets in any U.S. evacuation during a disaster. The law mandates that evacuation plans must take into account the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals prior to, during, and following a major disaster or emergency.
The statute was passed after thousands of pet guardians refused to evacuate without their animals in New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The "no pet" policy was decried by the entire animal welfare community, which rushed to deliver aid to abandoned animals during the emergency.
Today, there are no U.S. chartered flights leaving Cairo and U.S. citizens are on standby for flights which might depart on Saturday. According to the State Department, there are seats available today on commercial flights leaving Cairo for the United States. Current customs regulations, however, require that animals flying in cargo or in cabin must have a valid international health certificate completed within ten days of arrival in the U.S..
According to Joyce Tischler, Animal Legal Defense Fund founder and general council, “The tragedy of Americans in the midst of disaster being forced to choose between leaving their beloved animals and remaining in harm’s way spurred significant legislation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, designed to ensure that families can evacuate without leaving behind their four-legged members. Americans consider their pets members of their family; they should not have to choose between fleeing the current violence in Egypt and abandoning their animals .”
There are no current provisions for animals belonging to U.S citizens in Egypt at the time of this reporting.
For further information you may e-mail the State Department Egypt Emergency contact at: EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or telephone at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (outside the United States and Canada).