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Humane Society of Pinellas Receives Grant from ASPCA to Form Animal Disaster Response Team

July 3, 2013

Clearwater, Fla.—The Humane Society of Pinellas has been awarded an $8,000 grant from the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) to form and train the Humane Society Pinellas Response Team, a group of animal responders that will be dedicated to assisting with natural and man-made disasters in Florida and across the U.S.

 “With the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and Sandy—the two most costly storms in U.S. history—we can see the importance of organized rescue efforts more than ever,” said Sarah Brown, CEO of the Humane Society of Pinellas. “With millions of families and animals displaced, we know the time to help and recruit animal responders is now.”

“The Humane Society of Pinellas has provided valuable support to the ASPCA in past response operations,” added Justine Dang, director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group operations. “We are well aware of their capabilities and are pleased to help their organization form an emergency response team, which we look forward to working with on future operations.”

The Humane Society of Pinellas is actively recruiting approximately 80 volunteer responders to be trained by the end of 2013. Training will include field rescue, emergency sheltering, animal disease, pet First Aid and CPR, animal behavior, animal handling and daily care. The team will assist the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team with natural disaster response and large-scale animal cruelty cases throughout the country, as well as respond to the needs of local Florida animals. Those interested in joining the Humane Society Pinellas Response team should contact Lucy Monette at lucy@humanepinellas.org.

In 2012, the Humane Society of Pinellas assisted the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team in the seizure and sheltering of nearly 700 cats from an overwhelmed cat sanctuary in Madison County, Fla. The formation of the Humane Society Pinellas Response Team will enable the Humane Society to respond to similar situations more frequently and with a greater number of professionally trained volunteers. 

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team is commonly called upon by state and municipal governments and other animal welfare agencies to lend expertise during large-scale animal rescue operations. The ASPCA frequently responds to natural disasters, including major events like Hurricane Sandy, the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo., Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Every year the ASPCA assists thousands of animals in communities throughout the U.S. that were severely affected by tornadoes, flooding and storms.