JOLIET – Pets in Will County can expect to receive special care during disasters through a new AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer.
Will County officials were able to acquire the trailer thanks to the national AKC Pet Disaster Relief program, local American Kennel Club dog clubs and dog lovers, according to a county news release.
Several organizations gave more than $22,000 in donations and grants for the purchase of the trailer, which will help create a safe, temporary home base for up to 65 pets immediately after a disaster is declared.
“We hope to never use it, but it’s there if we need it,” said Allison Anderson, Will County Emergency Management Agency planning and exercise officer.
On Tuesday, Harold Damron, Will County EMA director, along with Will County Executive Larry Walsh Sr. and several representatives from local dog clubs – and their dogs – were at the Joliet Junior College Weitendorf Agricultural Education Center to unveil the trailer.
Damron said there’s a lot that occurs in a disaster and preparation is about not just the Will County EMA being prepared, but the public as well.
“Pet preparedness – being ready to take care of our animals – is a challenge that’s been more and more important over the last few years,” he said.
The AKC Pet Disaster relief trailer will house and deliver essential animal care items, such as crates and carriers, AKC Reunite microchips, AKC Reunite universal supplies and maintenance items.
Damron said disaster relief takes more than facilities and equipment – it also requires people to make it happen.
“It really begins with people. It begins with having our public prepared to take care of not just themselves, but to also take care of their pets,” he said.
He said he hopes the trailer will be a bit of a catalyst to find other organizations that can help Will County in a disaster.
Walsh said it is important for Will County to be adequately prepared to help care for “our four-legged friends in the event of an emergency.”
“I would like to thank all of the local kennel clubs whose generous donations helped finance this purchase,” Walsh said.
The groups that made the purchase of the trailer possible include:
• Siberian Husky Club of Greater Chicago
• English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Club of Illinois
• Golden Retriever Club of Illinois
• Prairieland Standard Schnauzer Club of Central Illinois
• English Springer Spaniel Foundation
• English Cocker Spaniel Club of America
• Alaskan Malamute Club of America
• Standard Schnauzer Club of America
• Kate Weems
• Kishwaukee Kennel Club
• AKC Reunite