ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state will now allow people to take pets on any kind of public transportation when evacuating during an emergency.

Officials say the new policy ensures residents don't have to choose between their companion animal and their personal safety during hurricanes or other disasters.

Previously, some public transit agencies allowed pets during evacuations while others, such as the Port Authority, did not.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the change into law on Tuesday.

Under the law, restrictions on taking animals on public transit will only be lifted during formal evacuations.

The governor called the new policy "humane" and "common sense."

Cuomo's office noted that during Superstorm Sandy, people who refused to evacuate because of their pets had to later be rescued.

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