States Move Ahead With Mobile Animal Shelters!
Arlington Country, Virginia is proud of their one-of-a-kind mobile animal shelter, and have every right to be. Not every state has made the decision to create such a resource for potential disasters, let alone include animals in their disaster plans.
"This is money well-spent, because you will lose human life if you don't address this problem. A lot of people won't leave if their animals can't go with them. . . . That's been shown time and time again," Dickstein said.
The funds for this trailer have come from Homeland Security; money that was granted to the state to establish disaster plans. Over $200,000 was given as a grant to create better sheltering options throughout the state. Additional counties are also contemplating mobile shelters of their own.
Montgomery also has a policy temporarily taking in pets brought to people-only shelters but, since Katrina, is looking to formalize its plan with "pet-friendly" centers next to area high schools that could be mobilized as shelters, said Paul Hibler, county's deputy director for animal services. When torrential rains threatened the dam at Lake Needwood last summer, a dozen evacuees with pets ended up finding last-minute refuge at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
I should also mention that the ER team I work with here at IFAW has recently completed outfitting a command center/rescue truck for emergency relief around the US. With the trailer the team will be able communicate via satellite, radio and internet on ground to any point in the US. This will help significantly in getting reliable info from the point of disaster!