POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the American Veterinary Medical Association, led by Pound Ridge vet Douglas Aspros, has been offering both aid and trained volunteers to help rescue both pets and wildlife that were injured or displaced after the storm.
“The storm was far more devastating than anyone could have anticipated, particularly along the shore. The flooding was extensive, transportation issues unbearable and the loss of power has really been overwhelming,” said Aspros, who is president of the association. “Organizations like the AVMA are uniquely qualified to understand the needs of veterinarians in an emergency. We can’t always provide everything that they might need, but we can provide help in a strategic and effective way.”
The association is leading the effort to help the U.S. government understand the scope of damages to veterinary facilities on the East Coast and has donated the help of a Veterinary Medical Assistance Team member in Washington D.C. to assist in the planning and response. The Association is also coordinating distribution of donated veterinary medical supplies to clinics that have been affected by the storm, and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation is now collecting grant applications from veterinarians in the storm zone to support emergency veterinary medical care for animals in the region.
“We’re all family in veterinary medicine,” Aspros said. “Individual veterinarians have offered assistance to their colleagues in the affected areas. This is not only helpful in delivering necessary aid, but it’s also heartwarming.”
Michael Cathey, executive director of the foundation, said the organization has started receiving applications for grants to assist veterinary clinics and facilities in the affected areas. It expects to be collecting these applications to the AVMF Disaster Grant Program and distribute money in the coming months.
“The AVMF sends along our concern and our continued support for those people and animals that were affected by and continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy," Cathey said. "In partnership with our donors, we’re pleased to be able provide direct support to veterinarians on the front lines, who are providing medical care and other support to the animals affected by this disaster. As each request comes in for help, we also look for more donations to our programs to help keep funds available for veterinary clinics that will need our help to continue animal care.”
Four Veterinary Medical Assistance Teammembers were sent to help clean oil off sea birds and other wildlife caught in an unfortunate oil spill in New Jersey caused by Hurricane Sandy. The animals are being sent to Tri-State Bird Rescue in Delaware, where the team members will work with other volunteers under the direction of Tri-State to help clean and rescue the wildlife.
During the ongoing cleanup after Sandy, animal shelter populations have been much smaller, which Aspros said is an indication more people were able to keep their pets and livestock safe during the storm.
For more information about the association, visit www.avma.org