Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



Public Law 109-308, the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 (PETS Act), requires states and local governments seeking federal assistance to have emergency preparedness operational plans address the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals prior to a disaster. This thesis examines how local government emergency managers in New Mexico are preparing to address the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals prior to a disaster. This research was an exploratory case study that addressed two study goals: 1) to develop a baseline to measure preparedness activity surrounding the PETS Act implementation in New Mexico (NM) and 2) to characterize emergency manager behavior as predicted by public management theory. A survey of local government emergency managers was conducted using a 29-question, self-administered, questionnaire. 54 percent of NM (28 of 52) local government county and municipal emergency managers completed a questionnaire emailed to them. The results of the case study indicated low levels of activity in emergency planning, training, and exercising for emergency preparedness issues covered by the PETS Act. In addition, the results of the New Mexico Case study indicate that the majority of local government emergency manager behavior reflected the normative theory of the Hamiltonian emergency manager approach. Both the low levels of preparedness and the employment of an emergency management approach that can be characterized as Hamiltonian suggest an over tasking of the response and recovery phases. It is hoped that this case study will serve as a starting point for future PETS Act and emergency preparedness researchers. Furthermore, it is hoped that this thesis provides a comparative context for practitioners at the state and local level, and illuminates policy reach for policy makers in the emergency management field.'

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Gerber, Brian

Second Committee Member

Richards, Michael




Local Government, Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Planning, Animals in Disaster, Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, PETS Act, Public Management, Emergency Management

Document Type