PITTSBURG — After life-threatening storms, lost or injured animals have a rescue team to help bring them back to their owners and take care of their injuries.
Kansas State Animal Response Team provides care and assistance after natural or manmade disasters. KSSART provides training for volunteers to teach them the skills they need for rescuing a wide range of animals — from cats to horses.
KSSART volunteers are located regionally called County Animal Response Teams.
Region Liaison for southeast KSSART Team Tammy Johnson said there are 12 counties in this region and Crawford County is one of them, which is lead by Regional Database Admin Leann Moore.
“Any disaster starts and ends local,” Johnson said. “They will use the resources contained in-county. County emergency managers will call for other resources if needed.”
CART disaster responders are not to not self-deploy, but are deployed by the county emergency management director.
“I get ahold of them when help is needed after a disaster,” Crawford County Emergency Management Director Jason Vanbecelaere said. “They look for animals and find a place to take them back to and then reunite them with families.”
To help CART reunite pets with families Vanbecelaere said tagging pets is encouraged.
“We encourage people to tag pets for identification so the owners could be easily found,” he said.
According to Moore, the goal of CART is to rescue animals and bring them back to their owners.
SEK Humane Society Manager Valerie Weilert said some of the humane society’s staff are trained through KSSART to help in an event of a crisis.
“We would be called upon to help search for animals and set up an impromptu shelter where anyone can come claim their pet as they may have been lost because some shelters do not allow animals,” she said.
There are two pathways volunteers can take – community volunteer and disaster responder.
According to Moore, the community volunteers can help with paperwork, events, supplies and advocating and bringing community awareness. Disaster responders must take a CORE training assignments in order to deploy. This training is available through a workshop called Train Today Respond Tomorrow.
This year’s training workshop was in February, but people can still be a community volunteer until the next workshop comes around.
Every second thursday of every month there are CART meetings at the Arma City Hall.
“The trainings at the keep people active,” said Moore.
Moore said to become a volunteer people can go to kksart.org.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP.