In 2018, the Legislature approved SB 1576, a bipartisan measure that required animal shelters to adopt written policies and procedures to ensure that “every reasonable effort is made to quickly and reliably return the animals to their owners.” Lee County emergency evacuation shelters were all pet friendly during Hurricane Ian, local officials say, and an animal services representative was assigned to every evacuation shelter.

Legal reforms promoted by the Animal Law Section and other advocates after Hurricane Irma appear to be working after Hurricane Ian, but the success is difficult to measure.

“Our shelter community really stepped up,” said Kate MacFall, an Animal Law Section member and Florida director of the Humane Society of the U.S. “Thus far, they have been really doing a good job on several levels.”