AVMF donates to Florida, Puerto Rico hurricane relief

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is providing $65,000 in funding to help the communities in Puerto Rico and Florida recover from hurricanes that hit this fall.

The Foundation announced Oct. 10 that it is donating $50,000 to support Florida’s recovery efforts and care for animals in the wake of Hurricane Ian. The storm made landfall in the U.S. on Sept. 28 along the southwestern coast of Florida as a powerful Category 4 hurricane. Winds topped 150 mph and tore apart homes and buildings. Florida’s human death toll is more than 100, according to information from local officials, and the impact to animals has been immeasurable.

Hurricane aftermath photos and AVMF logo

Funds from the AVMF will go toward the work of the Florida VMA, the University of Florida’s Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service, Greater Good Charities, and Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Emergency Team. The University of Florida team had seen nearly 300 small animal patients as of Oct. 11 at Terry Park in Fort Myers, Florida. The Texas A&M veterinary team and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension deployed to Florida and, among their efforts, were providing care for more than 80 urban search and rescue dogs.

“Hurricane Ian caused widespread damage and suffering in Florida, and the need for relief is great,” said Dr. José Arce, chair of the AVMF and immediate past president of the AVMA. “In this time of crisis, we thank everyone who has stepped forward to help, and we encourage everyone who can give to please donate and help animals and the people who care for them.”

Earlier, the AVMF announced Sept. 26 that it would provide $15,000 to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Fiona, which made landfall in southwestern Puerto Rico on Sept. 18. After receiving nearly 30 inches of rain in some areas, communities were underwater, bridges and roads destroyed, and many residents’ homes made unlivable. Around 23,000 electricity customers remained without power as of Oct. 11 according to PowerOutage.us, which tracks service disruptions.

The AVMF is encouraging AVMA members and the public to join in supporting relief efforts in Florida and Puerto Rico. Contributions will help provide food, medical care, disaster relief, and emergency support for veterinarians providing care. To donate, visit avmf.org/donate.

AVMA members who have been affected by the hurricanes may apply for AVMF Disaster Grants for veterinarians impacted by disasters. Veterinarians who are providing care to animals impacted by disasters may apply for AVMF Disaster Reimbursement Grants.

A version of this article appears in the November 2022 print issue of JAVMA.