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Helen Woodward Animal Center announces Emergency Response RV and Rescue Team

A Rescue Team member and furry buddy standing in front of the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Emergency Response RV/Unit.
A Rescue Team member and furry buddy standing in front of the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Emergency Response RV/Unit.
(Courtesy)

Helen Woodward Animal Center launched its newest program Feb. 23. The organization which, up to now, has offered 14 programs and services dedicated to helping animals and people, is now ready to make an even greater impact when disaster strikes with its own Emergency Response Unit and Rescue Team. Thanks to generous donors, the Linda C. Scott Fund for Animal Welfare held at The San Diego Foundation and the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust, the Center unveiled a state-of-the-art, 37-foot-long Rescue RV completely retrofitted with veterinary equipment and prepared to deploy to the rescue of animals in any part of the U.S.

Over the years, Helen Woodward Animal Center has demonstrated its dedication in playing an active role in aiding devastated shelters during emergency situations around the country. First during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, again during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and again in 2017 following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Helen Woodward was there to provide support, medical assistance, and a chance at life to orphan dogs and cats.

A happy passenger in the new RV.
(Courtesy)

These rescue missions left their mark on Helen Woodward Animal Center, prompting an initiative to fund an Emergency Response Unit and train a team ready to deploy whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

Thanks to two incredible acts of generosity, the Center received funding totaling $250,000 to purchase and retrofit the response RV, as well as train a rotating team of nine Center staff in emergency response. Helen Woodward Animal Center is extremely grateful to the Linda C. Scott Fund for Animal Welfare and The San Diego Foundation’s matching grant support of $125,000, generously matched by the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust.

These important donations funded the purchase and unique customization of the 37-foot-long RV that sleeps four people, and includes 12 animal kennels and a medical exam table. The unit is stocked with life-saving veterinary medications and supplies to aid injured animals and even transport displaced orphan pets back to San Diego to find forever homes. Most crucially, the new rescue RV allows the Rescue Team to be self-sufficient amid a disaster situation, equipped with a refrigerator, laundry facility, bathroom and bathing equipment for the animals.

The new rescue RV allows the Rescue Team to be self-sufficient amid a disaster situation.
The new rescue RV allows the Rescue Team to be self-sufficient amid a disaster situation.
(Courtesy)

This funding also supported the purchase of personal safety equipment including dry-suits, helmets, boots and more and will send a team of nine Center staff, including the Center’s adoptions veterinarian and other medical and adoptions personnel, to a specialized training in Del Mar in April. The week-long course is conducted by Code 3 Associates, a nonprofit providing professional training to individuals and agencies involved in animal-related emergency response. There, the team will learn water and boat operating safety, animal handling and behavior, fire awareness, search and rescue and more.

“It has always been Helen Woodward Animal Center’s goal to not only assist animals in need locally but all around the country and even the world,” said Helen Woodward Animal Center President and CEO Mike Arms. “This new emergency response equipment gives us the ability to assist when help is most needed.”

For more information on Helen Woodward Animal Center, go to www.animalcenter.org or call (858) 756-4117.


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