BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - State officials now have a second mobile pet shelter to be used during emergencies such as floods or hurricanes, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain announced Friday.
The Banfield Foundation, the charitable arm of Banfield Pet Hospital, made the additional pet shelter a reality through a $72,100 grant. The foundation recently launched a disaster relief grant program to ensure pets were given much-needed care during disasters.
The new mobile pet shelter is a 48-foot transport truck and can be equipped with up to 55 metal cages, feed, water bowls and a wash down system. Strain said the shelter has an air ventilation system to provide proper air circulation and temperature for the pets. The new mobile shelter is similar to the first one that the LDAF rolled out during the 2015 hurricane season.
The mobile pet shelter is primarily used when no-notice events, such as the August 2016 flood, occur where pet sheltering facilities are not available. It can also be used in search and rescue missions and will be available, upon request, to other states during a disaster. In all, the LDAF can accommodate up to 3,000 pets at established mega pet shelters.
The LDAF is designated by the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act to evacuate, transport and shelter household pets during declared emergencies.
LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said, "The Banfield Foundation's generous donation allows Louisiana another vehicle to co-locate people and their pets during evacuations." Strain added, "When people are in harm's way, it gives them a sense of comfort knowing their household pets are safe and nearby once an evacuation takes place." In the past, victims have refused assistance unless their pets were accommodated.
"This year was no stranger to disasters—extreme flooding, hurricanes and wildfires destroyed communities, homes and lives. We saw first-hand the devastating impact that disasters have on people and their beloved pets and we understand the deep connection between pets and their owners," said Kim Van Syoc, Executive Director of the Banfield Foundation. "By partnering with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, we can help ensure pets will be protected in the future and pet owners will have peace of mind knowing their pets will make it home safely."