ASPCA Unveils New Animal Transport Trailer For Large-Scale Animal Rescue

June 4, 2010

NEW YORK—The crossroads of the Great White Way—otherwise known as Times Square—today played host to the ASPCA®'s (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) unveiling of its first-ever Animal Transport Trailer, a custom-built, 60-foot-long vehicle designed to save the lives of animal that fall victim to natural disasters or animal cruelty and neglect. 

The animal transport trailer, made possible with funds generously donated by the Silberstein Foundation of New York and the Grousbeck Family Foundation of California, was designed to increase the capability of the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response team to deploy to emergency situations across the country.  In addition to animal transport, the new vehicle will enable technical animal rescue, crime scene investigation, forensic analysis, and disaster response functions.

"We are committed to rescuing animals from life-threatening situations, and this vehicle will allow us to respond immediately to save more animals than ever before," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres.  "We would like to thank the Silberstein Foundation of New York and the Grousbeck Family Foundation of California for their generosity in helping the ASPCA to further our mission of saving animals in large-scale emergencies nationwide."

The ASPCA's new two-piece, 60-foot-long, climate-controlled vehicle consists of a 40-foot custom-built trailer—with the capacity to accommodate up to 60 animals—towed by a flatbed pick-up truck.  The vehicle will be stationed in Missouri, a central location within the U.S. that positions it to respond quickly.  It is equipped with resources such as airline kennels, wire crates, and animal handling and medical supplies. The trailer holds technical rescue and disaster response equipment such as boats, motors, water rescue and rope equipment. It also offers temporary shelter for staging in remote areas affected by disasters.

"In the past four months alone, the ASPCA has rescued animals from puppy mills, hoarding situations and Tennessee flood zones," said Tim Rickey, Senior Director of ASPCA Field Investigation and Response. "In every situation, time was of the essence.  Our new vehicle is a vital resource in expanding and accelerating our response time to disaster and animal cruelty relief, and saving animals that are stranded or need temporary shelter.  In any of these cases, the ASPCA is ready to respond."

Furthermore, the transport trailer provides capacity for Dr. Melinda Merck, Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA and the nation's leading animal forensic expert, to conduct medical exams for evidence collection and analysis of crime scene investigations. Since its inception, the ASPCA Veterinary Forensics team has been instrumental in collecting evidence against perpetrators of animal cruelty such as the Michael Vick case and the largest federal crackdown on dog fighting in U.S. history. 

The ASPCA Field Investigation and Response team has responded to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, but is more commonly called upon by state and municipal governments and other animal welfare partners to lend expertise during large-scale animal rescues.  In addition, the team also provides training, resources, and assistance to professionals responding to animal issues.