January 01, 2008


 AVMF funds emergency preparedness in 2008

Initial grants presented to 18 organizations

The board of directors for the American Veterinary Medical Foundation awarded a number of state grants for 2008 from the Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund. The initial grants were announced during the board's meeting in October 2007.

Seven organizations were presented startup grants totaling up to $5,000 each, and 11 organizations earned matching/challenge grants for up to $20,000 each. In all, a total of $254,971.25 was awarded from the ADRR fund.

"We were pleased with the overall quality of the applications received this year," said Dr. Anna M. van Heeckeren, chair of the AVMF Grants and Awards Committee, which reviewed the state grant applications.  

Kick-starting Washington  

The Washington State Animal Health Foundation was the recipient of one startup grant. Dr. Kathleen M. Connell, grant program director, plans to use the $5,000 grant to conduct a survey that will determine Washington's emergency preparedness and response capabilities. The WSAHF is part of the Washington State VMA.

"What I envision using the money toward is to start the necessary groundwork in Washington state to get our disaster and emergency response planning and organization figured out," said Dr. Connell, who was the Washington state veterinarian from July 2003 to July 2004, and a 2005-2006 AVMA Congressional Science Fellow.

The survey will solicit input from all 13 local veterinary medical associations. It will be used to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the existing response system in the state. It will also identify the equipment, supplies, and training needed. Dr. Connell plans to distribute the survey results widely in a final report.

"I found while working with the Washington State VMA that people are very interested in proceeding with (disaster) planning but, if you're in private practice, you have a few other things on your plate to deal with," Dr. Connell said. "I think the AVMF grant will be very helpful in giving us a start on this—to identify what are our needs, what are our issues."

Along with WSAHF, the other six organizations awarded startup grants for 2008 were the Indiana VMA, New Hampshire Disaster Animal Response Team, New Jersey VMA, Oregon VMA, Utah Emergency Animal Response Coalition, and Virginia State Animal Response Team Inc.

Connecticut progresses 

Back in 2004, the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation, associated with the Connecticut VMA, was also awarded a $5,000 startup grant by the AVMF. Now, with the support of many agencies, the foundation operates the Connecticut State Animal Response Team, which claims as many as 150 volunteers. 

To help continue the CVMF's disaster preparedness efforts, the AVMF provided the foundation with a $20,000 matching grant for 2008. Matching grants are based on financial support already received by a requesting organization in the current fiscal year, or written commitments to give for the next fiscal year.

Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, president of the CVMF, plans to distribute the funds equally among all five disaster preparedness regions in Connecticut.

Dr. Goldman serves as team leader of the Region 3 Animal Response Team, the Connecticut regional team best prepared so far to respond to a disaster. Region 3 is fully operational, in part, because prior to the formation of CTSART, the region already had an all-hazards emergency planning program in place through the Capitol Region Emergency Planning Committee, a regional government entity.

In the past year and a half, regional animal response team leaders were appointed to the remaining four regions. Also, each region is working on developing deployable teams with their own equipment, which the AVMF grant will help fund.

Funds from the AVMF will also help pay for the five team leaders to attend the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs meeting, to be held Jan. 23 in conjunction with the North American Veterinary Conference.

In addition, the funds will go toward enhancing the CTSART Web site.

Along with the CVMF, matching/challenge grants were awarded to the Alabama VMA, Basic Animal Rescue Training (based in Minnesota), Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation, Delaware State Animal Response Team, Louisiana VMA, Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Foundation, Rhode Island VMA, Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, and Vermont VMA.

To learn more about the AVMF
Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund,
including how to apply for a grant,
log on to
and click on Grant Seeking,
or call (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6691.