AVMA donates $100,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has donated $100,000 toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The funds will be allocated via grants administered by the association’s charitable arm, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).

“This is a way for the AVMA to help our members, while simultaneously helping animals and their owners get the care they need in their time of need,” said Dr. Michael Whitehair, Chair of the AVMA Board of Directors. He explains the donation was made with the only condition being that the money go strictly to Harvey-related grants.

The first coordinated effort for animal search and rescue began yesterday in the Houston area as the storm continues to move from Texas to across Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. It is expected that more than a million animals have been impacted by the hurricane, which has already displaced 600,000 people and 1 million others are under voluntary evacuation. Animal shelters and veterinary hospitals, most of which are already at capacity, are working overtime to accommodate the influx of injured, tired, cold, and hungry animals lost or left behind.

“In addition to providing financial support, the AVMA is playing an important role in helping to disseminate information within the veterinary community, between the veterinary community and organizations providing animal and public assistance, and to animal owners and advocates so that those who need help get the right support as quickly as possible,” Dr. Whitehair added.

The AVMA is in constant contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is a member of the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC). Staff and volunteers participate in daily NARSC conference calls to plan and coordinate animal-related response to the storm, and have also reached out to the veterinary medical associations and colleges in those states affected by Harvey. In addition, AVMA members and industry partners across the profession have contacted the association asking how to best assist Harvey’s victims. As a way to connect those in need with those wanting to help, the AVMA has also created a special web page with links to resource materials, hotlines, and companies offering in-kind products.

“Our thoughts and hearts are with the people affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said Dr. Jan Strother, a member of the AVMA Board of Directors and Chair of the AVMF Board of Directors. “As the charitable arm of the AVMA, the AVMF has the capacity to directly aid those who are providing shelter and care for displaced pets, equids, food animals, zoo animals, and wildlife. By working together to assist our veterinary communities in need, we hope to ease the heartache caused by Hurricane Harvey and restore some type of normalcy as quickly as possible.”

Individuals wishing to directly support the efforts of veterinarians on the ground, should consider donating to the AVMF. Use the code “Disaster Relief” to designate your money for reimbursement grants, which assist veterinarians who are providing services and shelter in the impacted areas.