Disaster preparedness grant recipients named

AVMF awards $129,000 to nine groups
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Animal disaster preparedness throughout the United States will continue to receive support from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation this year in its mission to promote animal well-being.

For 2009, the AVMF has selected nine state entities to benefit from $129,000 in grants. States are chosen by the AVMF Grants and Awards Committee, which reviews each application for merit and scores it on the basis of various sets of criteria.

The grants were made possible through the AVMF Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund, which was established Sept. 1, 2005, to provide funding for disaster relief efforts in connection with Hurricane Katrina and future disasters. The organizations awarded grants were as follows.

Indiana Horse Council Foundation—$5,000

This organization is on the front line of combating the unwanted horse problem in the state. The Indiana Horse Council Foundation has provided equine neglect investigation training, a voluntary equine rescue certification program, a foster farm network, and a neglected horse reporting hotline. In the past year, the foundation and Indiana Horse Council director of development brought together emergency response officials to outline a plan of instruction for developing a large animal emergency response team and network for each area of the state. The foundation's long-term goals are to establish emergency response teams within each district, create an expertise and equipment sharing program among districts, and expand volunteer networks for field support.

Utah Emergency Animal Response Coalition, Inc.—$20,000

This group of animal-related organizations continues to be a resource for emergency planners, veterinarians, pet and livestock owners, and volunteers to improve the evacuation and sheltering of pets and livestock in large and small disasters. 2008 was the coalition's first year, and already it has developed a Web site, provided training to local emergency planners, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and volunteers. Community Animal Response Teams have been initiated in eight of 29 counties, and a statewide online registry for volunteers has been started. With money from the AVMF, the coalition hopes to purchase a second animal response trailer and provide large animal technical rescue training for up to 30 veterinarians and first responders.

Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation—$20,000

One of the nonprofit's mission is to promote animal disaster preparedness and response in Connecticut. This is accomplished through the Connecticut State Animal Response Team program, for which the foundation is one of six supporting agencies.

CSART officials say ongoing AVMF support is key to maintaining momentum in all five intrastate preparedness regions. That means continuing to develop mobile, deployable equipment caches in the regions and a roster of trained and state-certified volunteers. In addition, CSART hopes this year to promote the creation of a veterinary component to the existing state Medical Reserve Corps to facilitate medical care of evacuated animals.

Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation—$20,000

This foundation supports the Texas State Animal Resource Team, a program that has coordinated organizations interested in animal emergency management issues and resources.

TXSART provides education, resource identification, and state response coordination. A primary mission of TXSART is to identify and coordinate statewide resources in times of preparedness, response, and recovery. It provided support in person and remotely, most recently during Hurricane Dolly and Tropical Storm Edouard in 2008. Funding helps pays for personnel, TXSART's annual summit, staff travel, and printing costs.  

Tennessee VMA—$5,000

This organization began providing disaster preparedness and response training more than five years ago, but stopped because of funding problems. Now it hopes to get back on track this year, thanks in part to the AVMF.

"We feel that we need to move on to the next phase of training, since we have so many vets and staff with only their phase I training," writes Dr. Mary Ergen, president of the Tennessee VMA in her application to the AVMF.

The full day of training will take place early this year. The TVMA is the only association that offers statewide training to veterinarians and their staff. The grant will allow the association to offer it free or at a greatly reduced cost.

Minnesota Animal Disaster Coalition—$5,000

For the past 10 years, the coalition has coordinated federal, state, and local agencies and volunteer organizations to assist in animal emergency response, particularly in situations that are not addressed by statutory authority, such as pet issues in disasters.

Goals for this year include pursuing establishment as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, expanding membership and increasing meeting participation, developing Web-based resource tracking, and continuing outreach activities.

Program Director Charles O'Brien said the major challenge the MN ADC faces is that volunteers, with no resources to reimburse expenses, carry out so many crucial planning and coordination functions right now. The AVMF will help lessen the burden, he said.

Kansas State Animal Response Team—$20,000

This team has done much to develop a state resource coordination team and numerous regional and county animal response teams in the state.

Since KSART doesn't have any paid staff, just a board of directors, the goal is to hire a full-time executive director. Funding from the AVMF, it says, will help accomplish a number of other initiatives this year. For example, KSART aims to recruit and train County Animal Response Team leaders and volunteers. It also hopes to develop a standardized credentialing process for animal disaster workers and animal patient tracking systems that work in conjunction with human patient tracking systems. Finally, KSART wants to develop a resource tracking system.

Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation—$20,000

This foundation oversees the Colorado State Animal Response Team program and Community Animal Response Team programs developing across the state. Funds from the AVMF, according to Carol Wade, program director, "will enable CVMA Animal Emergency Management Programs to better fulfill its primary missions for the coming year."

The CVFM's goal is to train an additional 75 veterinary personnel during 2009 and an additional 100 SART/CART volunteers. It also anticipates providing staff for a major planning project in 2009 involving the state of Colorado and the Denver Urban Area Security Initiative.

Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Foundation—$14,000

The OVMF, in cooperation with the Oklahoma VMA, have been the housing agency of the Oklahoma VMA Medical Reserve Corps State Animal Response Team since its inception.

Its primary need is for a response trailer that can adequately manage initial animal sheltering and treatment needs, toward which it hopes to put the AVMF money. The foundation said work was delayed on construction of the trailer but is scheduled to begin this winter with the goal of being operational by fall 2009. The trailer will have a small veterinary treatment area; a large cargo capacity for field tents, cages, and other sheltering necessities; and decontamination capabilities.

For more information, visit www.avmf.org; call (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6689; or send checks for the Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund to AVMF, Dept. 20-1122, P.O. Box 5940, Carol Stream, IL 60197.