Governor Cuomo signs ‘Noah’s Ark’ bill

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office
Flooding in Breezy Point and Long Beach after Hurricane Sandy. A new law will allow pet owners to bring their companion animals on board MTA trains, subways and buses in the event of a major disaster where residents are asked to evacuate.

Pets will now be allowed to board New York City public transportation in the wake of a natural disaster.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that sympathizes with evacuating pet owners and instructs the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to permit animals on board buses, trains and subways in a state of emergency.

The bill, A.2145, sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, was introduced after Hurricane Sandy when some New York City residents refused to evacuate their homes because their pets were not allowed to join them on public transportation.

“With an increasingly unstable climate, it is vital that we have plans in place to ensure the safety of New Yorkers and their pets,” Assemblywoman Rosenthal said.

Supporters of the bill say that residents and their pets are not the only ones at risk; first responders  are also put in harms way when people refuse to evacuate.

Effective in 30 days, the new rules will only be enforced if sufficient space is available to accommodate all people first. During evacuations, transportation attendants reserve the right to deny animal access if deemed a safety or health risk to the rest of the passengers.

The same-as bill, S.2589, is sponsored by Senator Adam Lanza, R-Staten Island, and is referred to in both houses as the Noah’s Ark bill.