CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE -
Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton announced that the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management took the initial step to create the County's first Animal Response Team or CART on September 18, 2013. Cape May County Emergency Management Coordinator Martin L. Pagliughi hosted the first meeting of the Cape May County Animal Response Team that included emergency responders, animal care providers, animal control representatives, shelter personnel and other volunteers at the County Office of Emergency Management.
The CART will assist pet owners in a disaster or weather emergency by providing shelter and care. Federal and State laws require New Jersey counties to plan for and support the needs of animals and individuals with animals during an emergency.
Pagliughi said, "The initial focus of the CART will be on domestic animals and the safe evacuation of pets during an emergency."
From localized incidents such as flooding and inclement weather to catastrophic incidents such as a hurricane or terrorist attack, these events require the emergency response community to plan, train and prepare for response operations that include animals. The County is seeking volunteers to help with this important life-saving initiative. Veterinarians, Kennel attendants and Veterinarian technicians and assistants are being recruited to be part of the County Animal Response Team.
The goal is for the CART to have the basic capability of providing shelter for approximately 250 animals now and as many as 500 animals in the future. Also, for the county to have the ability to independently operate these shelters for 72 hours and maintain shelter operations for at least 5 days with proper requested assistance.
During the meeting, Helen Ferrarro, Ocean County CART Director and 4-H Coordinator provided an overview of the Ocean County CART and the role they played during Hurricane Sandy providing shelter for pets affected by the storm. Pagliughi added, " The creation of a CART in Cape May County is just one component of the County's Sheltering Plan."
The county currently has an emergency evacuation trailer in place plus pet carriers that will be installed by the Cape May County Technical High School inside a remodeled office trailer. Also, the Borough of Avalon has made its Emergency Evacuation Pet Shelter that includes pet cages,climate control, veterinary work station, running water and lighting available to any community in the state who needs to safely evacuate pets during an emergency situation.
The next CART meeting will be on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 9 a.m. at the Fire Academy at the Cape May County Public Safety Training Center located at 171 Crest Haven Road, Cape May Court House (Exit 11 off the Garden State Parkway). A Saturday was selected, to give more people the opportunity to attend and participate in the CART.
For additional information or to volunteer, please call Don Horvath,CART Program Manager at 463-6570.
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