Preparing for the Worst, Striving for the Best
Many fields and sectors are impacted by emergencies—but for animal welfare professionals, emergency conditions can present matters of life and death. Contemplating the effects of a natural or human-made disaster on an already-strained shelter or rescue operation can be understandably overwhelming… after all, when it already takes everything you’ve got (and far more) just to sustain Plan A, how can you conceive of a realistic Plan B?
Fortunately, the ASPCA is helping to take the guesswork out of that process. September was National Preparedness Month, during which we raised awareness about our disaster preparedness resources for shelters — including tips on developing a disaster readiness plan, educating pet owners about how to keep their animals safe and finding training to become a credentialed animal responder.
As we continue into hurricane season, we’d like to tell you about some of the funding we make available to eligible animal welfare nonprofit organizations and government agencies that are either in need of immediate assistance, responding to the needs of animals in affected areas or seeking to improve their disaster preparedness. In addition to responding to the kinds of emergencies that would be officially declared by local, state and federal jurisdictions—hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, explosions, droughts, hazardous materials release and the like—our funding can respond to more localized crises, such as animal disease outbreaks in shelters, building collapses and other emergencies that directly impact the daily operational functions of an organization.
(You may ask, “What if my shelter/rescue is suddenly inundated with animals who were seized from a cruel or neglectful owner? Can we get emergency funding for that too?” While we readily acknowledge the urgency of those situations, we invite eligible organizations to seek support through our separate Anti-Cruelty grants program.)
ASPCA Emergency and Disaster Response grants help fund pet food, shelter supplies, rescue supplies and equipment, boarding/fostering of rescued or at-risk animals, animal transport/relocation, animal medical care, overtime expenses for shelter staff, travel expenses for staff deployed to affected disaster areas and infrastructure repairs/rebuilding.
Through this program, we can also help fund shelters’ Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the development and implementation of policies, strategies, and practices to avoid or lessen the impact of a potential emergency or disaster. If you’d like to learn more, see our grant guidelines for further information.
So while grappling with an emergency or disaster on top of everything else you and your animals are going through may be your worst nightmare, we at the ASPCA are doing everything we can to help ensure the best possible outcome, should such a situation occur.
Has your organization been helped by an ASPCA emergency/disaster grant, or do you have a question about applying for one? Leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.