AVMA donates $100,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

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Satellite image of Hurricane Harvey
On Aug. 24, Harvey intensified into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm. (Courtesy of NOAA/NASA GOES Project)

The AVMA announced Aug. 31 that it has donated $100,000 toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The funds will be allocated via grants administered by the Association's charitable arm, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.

"This is a way for the AVMA to help our members, while simultaneously helping animals and their owners get the care they need in their time of need," said Dr. Michael Whitehair, chair of the AVMA Board of Directors, in the announcement. He said the donation was made with the only condition being that the money go strictly to Harvey-related grants.

The first coordinated effort for animal search and rescue began Aug. 30 in the Houston area as the storm continued to move from Texas across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. It is expected that more than a million animals have been impacted by the hurricane, which already had displaced 600,000 people by the end of August, with a million others under voluntary evacuation. Animal shelters and veterinary hospitals, most of which were already at capacity, worked overtime to accommodate an influx of animals.

"In addition to providing financial support, the AVMA is playing an important role in helping to disseminate information within the veterinary community, between the veterinary community and organizations providing animal and public assistance, and to animal owners and advocates so that those who need help get the right support as quickly as possible," Dr. Whitehair said.

The AVMA has been in constant contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is a member of the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition. Association staff and volunteers participated in daily NARSC conference calls to plan and coordinate the animal-related response to the storm and also reached out to the veterinary medical associations and veterinary colleges in the states affected by Harvey. In addition, AVMA members and industry partners across the profession contacted the Association asking how best to assist Harvey's victims. As a way to connect those in need with those wanting to help, the AVMA created a special webpage at jav.ma/HarveyAVMA with links to resource materials, hotlines, and companies offering in-kind products.

"Our thoughts and hearts are with the people affected by Hurricane Harvey," said Dr. Jan K. Strother, a member of the AVMA Board and chair of the AVMF board of directors, in the announcement about the Association's $100,00 donation. "As the charitable arm of the AVMA, the AVMF has the capacity to directly aid those who are providing shelter and care for displaced pets, equids, food animals, zoo animals, and wildlife. By working together to assist our veterinary communities in need, we hope to ease the heartache caused by Hurricane Harvey and restore some type of normalcy as quickly as possible."

Individuals wishing to support the efforts of veterinarians on the ground directly can consider donating to the AVMF. Donors should visit www.avmf.org/donate and use the code "Disaster Relief" to designate money for reimbursement grants, which assist veterinarians who are providing services and shelter in the impacted areas.