Vancouver, WA May 04, 2021
New Multi-Functional Unit Marks the Second Mobile Disaster Vehicle Granted to Texas A&M, Increasing VET’s Capacity to Evacuate and Transport Animals
VANCOUVER, WASH.—MAY 4, 2021— Banfield Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) today unveiled the university’s second custom-built veterinary response trailer and truck designed to be utilized in the evacuation phase of disaster response. As the largest and most deployed veterinary emergency response unit in the country, Texas A&M’s VET is a leader in emergency preparedness.
The new 28-foot trailer, supported by a Ford F-750 truck, can be deployed anywhere in the U.S. Fully funded by a grant from the Banfield Foundation, the unit will expand the VET’s medical-response capability in times of disaster. The vehicle—the latest addition to the team’s response fleet—will be largely used in the evacuation phase of hurricanes and flooding, enabling faster and safer transportation of animals to hospitalization or shelter areas. The trailer can comfortably transport 44 small animals as well as enable ill, injured, or anxious animals to be separated from other animals undergoing assessment or treatment.
“Time and time again, we witness the highly compassionate and effective disaster response capabilities from Dr. Wesley Bissett and his incredible team,” said Kim Van Syoc, executive director of the Banfield Foundation. “We are honored to once again increase our investment in Texas A&M and the entire VET as we collectively work toward reducing the devastating consequences of disasters and increasing access to veterinary care and shelter for animals in urgent need.”
This is the first VET vehicle designed for evacuation of animals, which will add a new dimension of response capability. The trailer was custom designed by VET based on unique needs and insights from prior deployments. Along with 44 kennels, it features an onboard generator, two rooftop air conditioning units, a 30-gallon freshwater tank, and exterior flood lights that will allow the vehicle to be used in any conditions.
This vehicle also has the potential to be utilized during non-emergency situations with the VET. When not deployed in an emergency, the VET works with communities and local agencies to train and develop emergency plans. The VET also educates fourth-year veterinary students on disaster response during two-week clinical rotations. “This addition really expands our ability to respond. In the past, for the most part, we’ve had to rely on people bringing their animals to us. This is going to allow us to go into the hardest-hit areas and get our hands on those animals faster,” said VET Director Dr. Wesley Bissett. “Time is critical in emergency response, so we’re incredibly grateful to the Banfield Foundation for this vehicle because it’s going to really change the way we’re able to respond.”
“Natural disasters are devastating for both people and pets – and we have a responsibility to support communities and families in all stages of a disaster: preparation, response and recovery. Year after year, TAMU VET responds to vulnerable communities impacted by wildfires, flooding and hurricanes,” said Charlotte A. Rossetter, a Banfield Foundation board member. “I’m incredibly proud the foundation is once again partnering with TAMU to ensure help is available when and where it’s needed most. At the foundation, our commitment goes beyond the investment in a rescue vehicle— ultimately, we are investing in the lives of thousands of pets and people we serve each year.”
Banfield Foundation announced its first VET donation, a medical platform truck, in February 2017 as part of its Disaster Relief Grant program, which is available to nonprofit animal organizations and local or state governments whose communities suffer the impact of disasters. The program has already made a positive difference, funding nearly $1.5M since inception in 2016, including resources for pets and people impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria as well as the California and Oregon Wildfires.
In addition to its disaster response vehicles with Texas A&M, the foundation has also funded a 44-foot mobile command unit with University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, a mobile sheltering unit with Louisiana Department of Agriculture, a transport trailer with Charleston Animal Society, and a new mobile veterinary unit with the Arizona Humane Society, ultimately helping thousands of pets in need nationwide.About the Banfield Foundation®
At the core of the Banfield Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the belief that all pets deserve access to veterinary care. In support of this belief, the foundation funds programs that enable veterinary care, elevate the power of the human-animal bond, provide disaster relief for pets, and advance the science of veterinary medicine through fostering innovation and education. It also leverages the expertise and passion of Banfield Pet Hospital, part of Mars Veterinary Health, and its Associates to care for pets in need. At the Banfield Foundation, we are committed to making A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS because they make a better world for us. For more information, visit BanfieldFoundation.org.
About Texas A&M University Veterinary Emergency Team
The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team deploys the largest and most sophisticated veterinary medical disaster response team in the country. Dedicated to “Serving our state and nation every day,” the team prides itself on adhering to the Aggie Core Values through response, outreach, education, research, and selfless service by developing and providing cutting-edge emergency management education, advancing knowledge in emergency-preparedness education and response, and building upon the legacy of service that is at the heart of Texas A&M University.