Disaster response for animals is where the foundation for EARS is rooted, since our organization was first pulled together to assist with the evacuation and relocation of pets effected by severe weather that struck Connecticut in 2011. Following those incidents we set a number of protocols to guide how our team would activate, deploy, and respond, to requests for animal assistance during these types of situations… and it wasn’t long before they were called to action, since only months after setting everything up, Connecticut was impacted by Hurricane Sandy and the October Blizzard.
When it came to disaster response for animals in our State, what we found was that the resources and actions were lacking. While there were some organizations, most of them by design could not be activated until after a disaster had already struck, and the preparedness and response for animals varied greatly from town-to-town. Even in the wake of Hurricane Irene’s impact on animals in shoreline communities, there still wasn’t much in place for them when Hurricane Sandy struck. As in so many other places hit by disasters, this resulted in many pet owners refusing to evacuate their homes because they could not be assured their animals would be safe. We vowed to change that, and the design of EARS reflects our commitment to be there when animals – and their people – need us the most.
What it comes down to is very simple, preparedness for disasters is the key to being safe when they happen, and helping to encourage animal owners, veterinary hospitals, local shelters, and other resources in the community to make sure they’re ready is something we aim to do every day. This is where our EARS motto came from, “Disaster’s don’t just happen ‘someplace else’ anymore!”