December 15, 2012


 AVMA, AVMF ready to help

Posted Dec. 6, 2012
The AVMA and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation are doing what they can to assist people and animals affected by Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast on Oct. 29.

As members of the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition, staff members have participated in daily update calls with coalition members, affected states, federal agencies, and the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs.

The Association did receive a request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Emergency Programs and assisted by providing information about the impacts on the veterinary infrastructure to allow for coordination of resources and supplies.

The AVMA also contacted 13 VMAs in states most impacted by the storm and remains in contact with them in case assistance is needed.

Plus, the Association continues to receive and coordinate offers of donations, providing a link between the donors and the organizations coordinating resource requests.

AVMA’s Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams have been on standby since the beginning of the storm. Four members of AVMA VMAT-2 were sent to Tri-State Bird Rescue in Delaware on Nov. 8. They assisted with decontaminating and caring for oiled birds and wildlife, according to Dr. Cheryl Eia, an assistant director in the AVMA Scientific Activities Division and coordinator of emergency preparedness and response.

Earlier, the first weekend in November, the AVMA VMAT-2 commander, Dr. Patty Klein, provided assistance at the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., on Animal Multi-Agency Coordination efforts.

Meanwhile, the AVMF began to receive a handful of submissions for its Disaster Veterinary Animal Care Reimbursement and Disaster Veterinary Practice Relief grants. The former awards eligible recipients up to $5,000 for veterinary care for animal victims of disaster, and the latter gives up to $2,000 in reimbursement to veterinary practices damaged in a disaster, specifically for items not covered by insurance.

Submissions must be approved by the Foundation’s board of directors. AVMF program manager Cheri Kowal said the Foundation was trying to expedite the process to ensure timely reimbursements for practice owners.

As of Nov. 26, the AVMF had received more than 20 requests, with about 10 actual applications.

“Most of the other people I have talked to are still without power and trying to deal with the cleanup. They will apply sometime in the future,” Kowal said. “The stories are heartbreaking. So many people lost everything.”

Any AVMA member with needs related to storm damage can contact Dr. Eia at or Kowal at

Further updates about the AVMA and AVMF’s response efforts are available via the Twitter feed @AVMAVMAT and on the AVMA@Work blog, To make a donation to the Foundation, visit