Animal Response Teams Start Work in Haiti

Groups aim to feed, vaccinate and offer veterinary aid to community dogs in Port-au-Prince.

Tracy Reis, American Humane Association’s program manager for Animal Emergency Services, joins relief efforts in Haiti on Thursday, Jan. 28, to assist in an international effort to aid animals affected by the earthquake.

Reis, an expert responder who has helped rescue more than 12,000 animals, arrives in Port-au-Prince as part of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti, an organization jointly led by the World Society for the Protection of Animals and International Fund for Animal Welfare

Reis will work with ARCH members in the Dominican Republic and Haiti to implement a feeding program for the community dogs and to offer immediate veterinary aid to animals in Haiti. Efforts are conducted in cooperation with the Haitian government and, in particular, the Ministry of Environment.

Jean Marie Claude Germain, the Haitian Minister of Environment, said animals had not been considered in the original recovery plans. However, after meeting the ARCH team, it was decided that it would be good to do so. “In addition to preventing deforestation and protecting our water reserves, we are also discussing the need for a vaccination program in order to prevent the spread of diseases amongst the animal populations,” Germain said.

In addition to deploying Reis, American Humane has donated $25,000 to help fund the coalition’s efforts, and expects to provide additional funds. The organization’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services volunteers are preparing for deployment to Haiti by updating their vaccinations and receiving other medical assessments to ensure that they are fully prepared.

In addition, American Humane has notified more than 200 trained and FEMA-certified animal rescue responders on its response roster. Qualified responders may join teams on the ground in Haiti, once long-term mission objectives are determined.

To date, $150,000 has been raised to support the coalition’s work.

To donate or learn mroe visit WSPA.

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