Animal health companies and more than 1,600 consumers and veterinarians have contributed more than $260,000 to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation Disaster Relief Emergency Fund since the Sept. 11 attack on the United States.
The AVMF disaster relief fund supports the Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams that have been treating search-and-rescue dogs at the World Trade Center ground zero site since Sept. 12. The Iams Company has been a leading corporate contributor to AVMF disaster relief since 1998.
"We are humbled by this generous outpouring," said AVMF chairman, Dr. William Van Dresser. "The notes of support for the VMAT members and the dogs in their care have been remarkable. Elementary school kids, swimming pool cleaners, and dog groomers are just some of the people lending their support."
Of the 1,400-plus individual contributions, at least 95 percent of those donors are new supporters of the AVMF. Most donations came from residents of Ohio, Texas, and Florida. One Floridian remarked, "The country helped us after Hurricane Andrew; now it's our turn."
Animal health companies have responded generously as well. Pfizer Inc., Abbott Laboratories, and Fort Dodge Animal Health have made contributions of $40,000, $10,000, and $10,000, respectively. Beyond financial support, their employees are urging veterinarians from around the country to do their part in supporting the AVMF and disaster relief efforts.
Iams, which is in the middle of a multiyear $125,000 pledge to support AVMF disaster relief efforts, asked its corporate parent, Procter & Gamble, to include the AVMF on its company intranet as a disaster relief charity.
Disaster relief was to be a featured component of the AVMF Board of Directors' agenda at its scheduled meeting in late November. Besides determining the allocation of funds to qualified veterinarians and animal aid providers in New York, the AVMF board planned to consider the long-term implications on its disaster relief program.
"We live in a dramatically different world," said AVMF Executive Director Paul Amundsen. "We need to recognize the VMAT for their remarkable work in New York, ensure VMATs' continued success and effectiveness, and enhance AVMF's capacity to aid veterinarian preparedness and response for all disasters—natural or man-made."
Those wishing to support the AVMF's disaster relief efforts are encouraged to do so by calling (800) 248-2862, ext. 600; visiting its secure Web site at www.avmf.org; or sending a check or money order to the AVMF at 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173.