July Chairman's Report
–– AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support and Relief Fund
Spearheads Disaster Preparedness ––
With this year’s hurricane season forecast to be especially treacherous and the recent tornadoes, wildfires and floods that have plagued communities across the United States, our attention naturally turns to the safety of our companion animals.
Since the creation of the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR) Canine Support and Relief Fund in 2002, AKC and AKC CAR have played a major role in our country’s largest disaster relief efforts. During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, AKC and AKC CAR delivered vital aid and provided multiple airlifts for displaced dogs in dire need of assistance. In doing so, our organizations helped set the standard for rescue efforts by communities and state governments, which have since become better prepared to handle the challenges they face in the event of catastrophe. Similarly, AKC Clubs are assured of our assistance in response to disaster. However, increasingly, both AKC CAR and AKC Clubs are shifting the focus from disaster relief to disaster preparedness.
So far in 2010, the Fund has donated nearly $400,000 to organizations across the nation, including more than $215,000 in grants to Search and Rescue organizations for equipment and preparedness training. A $25,000 donation to the United States Police Canine Association (Region 7) – in honor of the NYPD K–9 teams that assisted with earthquake relief efforts in Haiti – will enhance ongoing SAR education of law enforcement K–9s and their handlers. A grant given to the National Search Dog Alliance in Houston, Texas, will help subsidize costs of training seminars, while S.T.R.I.K.E. in West Milton, Pennsylvania, has used their funds to purchase supplies such as search and rescue vests and GPS equipment.
AKC CAR just recently donated a total of $35,000 to the state of Delaware’s Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. and to the Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team (VDART), enabling both organizations to acquire CAMET (Companion Animal Mobile Equipment Trailer) units, which will aid in state preparedness. CAMET units are supplied to organizations by the North Carolina State Animal Response Team (NC SART) which AKC CAR has worked with over the years on other similar donations. The trailers provide immediate shelter when disaster strikes and contain items such as crates, a generator, first aid kits, a pressure washer, power cords, animal ID bands, dog bowls and more. Once unloaded, the trailer also serves as a local command center. In addition to the CAMET trailers, another state in the area – Massachusetts – also received a $5,000 disaster preparedness grant to specifically address evacuation needs on Cape Cod. The State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART) will spearhead that effort.
In the spirit of preparedness, we urge and invite all AKC clubs to create a disaster plan that addresses what club and community members should do to help in case of disaster. Not only does taking this action ensure the safety of your animals, but it is a public service for your community and fulfills one of the eligibility requirements to host future dog shows. You can also get involved by making a donation athttp://www.akc.org/donations/. Thanks to your continued support, we’ll be able to provide much needed disaster preparedness and relief resources for companion animals across the country.
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