MORRIS COUNTY, N.J. – Emergency responders in Morris County now have more tools to help save the sometimes forgotten victims of major storms, floods, hurricanes and other major disasters: namely, your pets.
Thanks to the fundraising efforts and generosity of more than a dozen Morris County area, state and national kennel clubs, and AKC Reunite, the county today has received a new state-of-the-art AKC Pet Disaster Relief Trailer that helps to create a safe, temporary home base for at least 65 pets after a disaster occurs.
Combined with two existing animal transport trailers – purchased through federal and state emergency preparedness programs – the county now has the capability of securing some 200 animals in the event of an emergency or disaster situation.
“Pets are part valuable and loved members of our families, who can inadvertently get separated from us during emergency situations,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Doug Cabana, the county governing board’s liaison on public safety issues. “We are glad to be able to add to our resources to help shelter our pets in difficult times.’’
“Morris County now has one of the most prepared Animal Response Team (CART) programs in the region,’’ added Morris County OEM Director Jeff Paul.
“The team consists of Animal Control Officers, their support staff from a number of municipalities throughout Morris County as well as select volunteers who now have even more tools to help in their task and allow us to take care of the animals during times of need. We look at our animal population as an extension of the family and we need to provide for them as well.’’
AKC Reunite, an affiliate of the American Kennel Club, is the nation’s largest non-profit pet identification and recovery service. Learn more about how to get involved in AKC Pet Disaster Relief at www.akcreunite.org/relief.
AKC Pet Disaster Relief, a national program that is dedicated to keeping pets and their owners safe in the aftermath of natural or civil disasters, joined forces with local, state and national AKC breed clubs to present the emergency trailer to officials of Morris County Animal Response Team and the Morris County Office of Emergency Management in a ceremony held today in Morris Township.
“Safe, effective pet sheltering solutions in times of disaster are incredibly important, and AKC Reunite is helping communities across the nation prepare by mobilizing AKC Pet Disaster Relief,” said Tom Sharp, AKC Reunite CEO. “This trailer will provide animal care services during the first critical hours if a disaster ever hits Morris County or surrounding areas.”
The trailers house and deliver essential supplies, such as fans, lighting and generators; cleaning supplies; maintenance items; and animal care items, including crates and carriers, AKC Reunite microchips and an AKC Reunite universal microchip scanner, as well as bowls, collars and leashes.
“These supplies can be used as co-location shelters, where people can evacuate with their pets, as well as emergency animal shelters for displaced animals,” said CART Director Meredith Petrillo.
The purchase of the new trailer was made possible by $22,000 in donations and grants from: Bichon Frise Club of Northern New Jersey, Sussex Hills Kennel Club, Non-Sporting Group Club of the Garden State, Twin Brooks Kennel Club, Keystone English Springer Spaniel Club, New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs, Vizsla Club of Greater New York,Garden State All Terrier Club, The Kennel Club of Northern New Jersey,Schooley’s Mountain Kennel Club, Kitty Steidel, Scottish Terrier Club of Greater New York, Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America and Jim Dixon of Sussex Hills Kennel Club
“Having this new trailer allows us to fully set up a shelter in an emergency and support our towns and even contiguous counties that don’t have adequate resources,’’ said Morris County OEM Deputy Coordinator and CART Coordinator Karl Klingener.
He explained that even during non-emergency times, the county has participated and supported local shelters and animal control with animal hoarding situations. The county has provided transport and equipment to temporarily house animals until foster homes or permanent homes are found.
(Photo: Freeholder Doug Cabana (left center) surrounded by members of various kennel clubs and their pets.)