How to help Texas: AKC Reunite knows the way

Stationed in Fort Worth, Texas, one of AKC Reunite’s trailers is working diligently to help people, and their pets, stranded by Hurricane Harvey. Tents situated alongside the trailer have kennels and other pets supplies inside that are usable for the public. (Photo used by permission of AKC Reunite)Stationed in Fort Worth, Texas, one of AKC Reunite’s trailers is working diligently to help people, and their pets, stranded by Hurricane Harvey. Tents situated alongside the trailer have kennels and other pets supplies inside that are usable for the public. (Photo used by permission of AKC Reunite)

 

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas hard, damaging homes, businesses and the lives of those living within the cities. Those living outside of Texas receive a better glimpse of the damages through videos circulating the internet. Many of the photos and videos contain footage of animals in need. These forms of media play the strings of the viewer’s heart– leaving the public yearning to help but what they don’t know is how to. What people can do is help organizations aimed in aiding areas reaped with devastation.

Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, AKC Reunite is a national 501c3, tax exempt, organization “with the mission of supporting pet disaster relief programs– fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, chemical spills, even man-made terror events,” said Tom Sharp, president and CEO, via email.

Organizations like AKC supply areas, such as Texas, with what they need to accommodate the displaced pets, but you don’t need to be a major corporation to help out. What Texas really needs is money and donations are a great contribution.

“Good Samaritans oftentimes have the best of intentions collecting supplies, but they may arrive too late. This influx of supplies arriving too late is what Emergency Responders call the disaster after the disaster… they have no place to store all of the donations and no immediate use for them,” said Sharp.

All the donations are thoughtful but don’t help.

The donated money is used to rebuild/temporarily shelter pets and other infrastructures affected by Harvey. “[The] Texas SPCA is a good… [shelter to donate to]. AKC Reunite is also assessing the needs of shelters and rescues in the area and making monetary donations to other 501c3 and municipal organizations in need,” said Sharp.

You can donate here to help out other local shelters.

Donating money isn’t the only thing people can do to help. Volunteering is another major way to contribute, but people must register as volunteers because EAPs (Emergency Action Plans) are already in place. Here is link to sign up as a volunteer in Houston and here is a link to volunteer statewide through FEMA.

“After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, local Emergency Management teams are now required by Federal Law (Pets Act 2006) to have readiness plans and resources available to help citizens and their pets in the event of a disaster. This is why AKC Reunite launched the AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer donation program. The program helps help local Emergency Management have a turnkey way to provide animal care services immediately following a disaster,” said Sharp.

At first, in order to reach the region or area (often times limited because roadways are closed), AKC use to airlift supplies, which was found costly. To make it easier and more cost efficient, they began their trailer program.

Yes, emergency response teams are focused more heavily on saving humans, but when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, 44% of the people refused to evacuate because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind according to Fritz Poll 2006. “Emergency responders were doing all they could to rescue human life and had no plan in place, nor the appropriate accommodations to rescue and shelter pets. Not evacuating these people initially led to tremendous loss of human life and also put Emergency Responders lives at risk,” said Sharp.

Thus the trailer program and Pets Act of 2006 was formed.

AKC Dog Clubs in the community fund trailers. Once donated, AKC Pet Disaster Relief equipment becomes “the property of the municipality to deploy whenever a disaster is declared,” said Sharpe.

The equipment in the trailers are non-perishable, essential supplies since many pet owners do not have the time to gather all they need during evacuation. For more information about trailer set up click here and for locations of trailers click here.

Natural disasters affect not just people. Donating money to organizations and volunteering can help minimize the stress placed on Texas, and other areas, where storms have wreaked havoc.

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