No, hotels and motels are not required to take pets during emergencies

The posts claimed the PETS Act and FEMA force hotels and motels to legally house pets during natural disasters. We can VERIFY that's not true.

ATLANTA — When other hurricanes and storms have hit, we've seen social media posts make the rounds, claiming hotels and motels are required to take your pets if you're evacuating during a natural disaster. 

The posts surfaced during hurricane season a few years back – during Hurricane Harvey and Irma. The posts resurfaced during Hurricane Florence.

Back in 2017, 11Alive verified this is false. But is that still the case today? 


Are hotels and motels required to take your pets if you're evacuating?


  • Terri Bandour: Executive Director, American Red Cross of Greater Atlanta
  • Jim Sprouse: Executive Director, Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association
  • FEMA
  • PETS Act


No, hotels and motels are still not required to take your pets in if you're evacuating.


This is false.


First, the PETS Act, which was passed in 2006, has not been amended since.

It states local governments must have emergency plans to shelter pets but it does not mandate hotels or motels accept them.

“It's part of that being prepared and knowing in advance who can accommodate your pets," Bandour said. "We encourage folks to call ahead to find out if hotels or motels can accept their pets, and ask if there are pet policies. 'Could they be waived in an emergency?' So we feel it's best to plan ahead.”

RELATED: VERIFY: No, hotels are not legally required to house your pets in an evacuation

Similarly, FEMA updated information on its Transitional Sheltering Assistance program last year, indicating pet owners still have to check if furry friends are accepted at hotels and motels.

In a statement, the agency tells us many don’t allow pets, so you need to make sure you have a plan in place.

Part of that plan, the Red Cross said should also include making sure you have your pet’s food, crates and leashes.

"'Are their pets' vaccinations current and up to date? Are they wearing collars? Are they microchipped in case somehow they got separated?'" Bandour suggested.

For more information, you can head over to its website by, clicking here

The following sites also maintain lists of animal-friendly travel options:

Related Stories