DBRC Helps Fund pet relief trailer designed to help in disasters
It's estimated that 15,000 pets may have lost their lives in the storm destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While the storm didn't devastate Delaware, it did spur action here. "Katrina was a wake up call for all of us," said Sherri Warburton, director of animal control for First State Animal Center and SPCA.
It made people realize how important it is to have a plan in place for pets as well as people in the case of a disaster, especially one during which people must evacuate their homes. For many people a pet is part of the family. Leaving that pet behind in an emergency is unthinkable, said Warburton.
One of the most visible results of Katrina: AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailers, paid for with donations and grants from area and national groups -- just in time for the hurricane season, which runs June through November.
It's packed with supplies that can help give up to 65 animals a temporary place to stay in an emergency. Located at the First State Animal Center, it's the first of its kind in Delaware.
Pets will no longer be forced to wander the streets for days, displaced from their families, as they did during disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma, said Stephanie Smith, club communications director for the American Kennel Club.
The trailers help create a safe, temporary home-base immediately after a disaster is declared, before help from FEMA arrives, she said.
The purchase of the trailer for the First State Animal Center and SPCA was made possible by $22,000 in donations and grants from the members of the Wilmington Kennel Club, Del Bay Retriever Club and AKC Reunite, the nation's largest non-profit pet identification and recovery service.
"The Wilmington Kennel Club wanted to make it easier for our local community to help pet owners in times of disaster and our club members are very proud to donate this AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer to assist in Delaware's future response efforts," said WKC's Doug Holloway.
The trailer houses and deliver essential supplies such as fans, lighting and generators; cleaning supplies; maintenance items; and animal care items including crates and carriers, AKC Reunite microchips and an AKC Reunite universal microchip scanner, as well as bowls, collars and leashes.
In an emergency, the trailer can set up next to a shelter for humans so pets and families do not have to be separated, said Warburton. Organizers hope that makes it easier for people to evacuate when they need to.
"I wouldn't leave my dogs," she said.
The trailer would also help people be reunited with their pets, with the use of the microchip scanner, said Warburton. She urged people to make sure their pets are microchipped because in an emergency situation a lost pet can lose its tags and collar, making it very difficult to find the owner.
"The AKC dog clubs in Delaware want to help our local community and its pets be prepared for any disaster and its aftermath," said Lyn Yelton of the Del Bay Retriever Club. "We are all very proud to donate this trailer to the First State Animal Center and SPCA."
The trailer is one of many being positioned around the country, paid for with private donations. Individuals, corporations and other interested parties can donate to trailer projects in local areas or across the country. Donations are tax deductible and accepted at www.akcreunite.org/donate.
Pack a pet disaster kit now in case of threat
The Humane Society of the United States provides the following checklist of things to have ready for your pet in case of disaster. For more detailed information, go to www.humanesociety.org
The basic pet disaster kit should include:
- Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food.
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first-aid kit.
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop and garbage bags to collect all your pets' waste.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape.
- Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated – and to prove that they are yours once you're reunited.
- Written information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.