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NARSC Provides Emergency Sheltering for more than 500 Pets Affected by Floods in Minot, N.D.

August 18, 2011

NEW YORK--Members of the NARSC (National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition), including the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), are assisting the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the Souris Valley Animal Shelter with emergency sheltering operations in Minot, N.D. for animals affected by severe flooding that has devastated the city since late June. To date, NARSC has provided sheltering for over 500 animals--mostly cats and dogs belonging to residents displaced by the floods--at a pet evacuation center located at the NDSU Research Center.

In addition to the ASPCA, the following NARSC member organizations have been or will be involved in this operation, which is expected to last until the end of August: the IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), RedRover (formerly United Animal Nations), the AHA (American Humane Association), PetFinder.com Foundation, the AVMF (American Veterinary Medical Foundation), Code 3 Associates, and the SAWA (Society of Animal Welfare Administrators).

"The ASPCA is grateful to all of the NARSC member agencies that quickly stepped up to offer assistance," said Sandy Monterose, senior director of community outreach for the ASPCA and NARSC chair. "By collaborating and combining our resources and knowledge, we're able to transition smoothly from one agency to the next and ultimately help the animals displaced by the recent flooding."

"This emergency was not sudden like a tornado or hurricane, but it's just as devastating to those who are affected," said Shannon Walajtys, emergency relief officer for IFAW, the first NARSC team on the ground. "Many of the displaced residents are understandably pre-occupied with the burden of finding new homes in which to live, and the moments they're able to spend visiting their beloved pets at our emergency shelter provide such an important emotional boost."

Following IFAW's deployment July 16, RedRover deployed 15 trained volunteers from 10 states from July 27 to August 7 to support the emergency sheltering mission. "Our volunteers were ready, willing and able to travel at a moment's notice to care for pets while residents put their lives back together," said RedRover president and CEO Nicole Forsyth. "We were impressed by what the Souris Valley Animal Shelter had done to help the community's displaced pets and people, and glad to relieve some of the burden on their staff and volunteers by providing manpower for the sheltering operation."

On August 10, the American Humane Association's Red Star™ Animal Emergency Services team arrived in Minot. "Right now, evacuated citizens' pets are being housed in temporary emergency shelters set up by local residents and outside agencies," said Josh Cary, team lead of the AHA's Red Star effort. "American Humane Association is providing a rotation team to care for family pets whose owners have been stranded by the flooding. Animal owners know that we will keep their beloved pets safe until reunions are possible."

The ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team arrived on the ground on August 17 to begin a 10 day deployment. "It has been a long haul for the people of Minot," said Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team. "We are proud to be able to offer support through the coalition as this community recovers."

Petfinder.com Foundation and AVMF have contributed financial resources toward the response, and Code 3 Associates and SAWA used their networks to provide volunteers to assist with operations and placement.