The United States Disaster Response Team responds in real-time to disasters—so no animal is left behind.
When Hurricane Katrina struck, pet owners who had to evacuate faced a devastating choice: abandon their companion animals to seek shelter, or ride out the storm alongside them.
During the storm and its aftermath, one million animals were either stranded, abandoned, or killed. We knew we had to do better.
We helped found the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition, NARSC. It unites IFAW with other stakeholders who realize that companion animals are an important part of communities, and that their safety is linked to human safety. Together with our allies – including the PetSmart Charities, ASPCA, American Humane, the American Red Cross, and many others – we work on disaster planning, training, and rapid response.
We have also established partnerships with state and local animal agencies to develop our network in the United States. We are on standby to help—and to deploy if needed—when disasters strike.
Over thirteen years, our network has rescued thousands of pets and delivered thousands of pounds of food and litter to those in shelters.
Seven years after Katrina, when Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast, our network was put to the test. IFAW staff members were deployed through NARSC to FEMA’s National Response Communication Center. There, they relayed real-time information to coalition members on the ground, including IFAW responders, who rescued trapped pets, delivered pet food and litter to survivors in need, and cared for those in emergency pet shelters who were displaced or whose owners lost everything. Working as a team, we staved off catastrophe.