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Rutherford County, TN and nearby residents - large animal disaster preparedness team

Hi folks,

As a spin-off of the recent Cannon County horse cruelty case, a discussion was started between myself and Dr. Gordon with the state vet's office. By way of background, I have been trying to implement a large animal disaster plan for this area for quite some time, but have never really been able to get anything of the ground through local EMS and Animal Control. At this point, Dr. Gordon and myself, amongst other private individuals, have decided to start a PRIVATE disaster response team for the area (for some background info, do a google search on "Disaster Animal Response Team" or "Wilson County DART" to see what I am talking about).

Would anyone be interested in lauching this program? It would be 100% volunteer based, but there are various grants and funds available for some basic equipment and supplies, and hopefully we could garner some support from community businesses as well.

We do need to wait a few weeks, until some of the dust has settled from the Cannon County case, but I thought I might go ahead and start spreading the word so when we have our initial meetings and training we might have a good group of members in place!

Please respond with thoughts, interest and questions. And my thanks to those who provide this forum, I cant tell you how supportive this group has been of the efforts with the 84 horses.

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Definitely interested in the DART program as a volunteer! Let me know when you all meet.
count me in too!JackieToo!!
What a great idea! When you say 'Disaster" are you talking about natural disasters, as in floods, tornadoes, etc? Or are you just talking about when there is abuse? I think a team that could respond to animal needs in any catastrophic situation would be a wonderful thing. I am sure down south in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama such teams would have been extremely useful during the hurricanes. I would very much like to volunteer with such an organization. I will google you and see what info I can get, and if I have any other questions or thoughts I will get back to you. Thanks for thinking of this!
I just checked the website and I have to say...it was awesome! You have a trailer, training for volunteers, I think you are well on your way here to having a great program for helping animals during natural disasters. I see I just missed the year end meeting in November, but I would like to keep in touch with this organization, so after all the Christmas stuff is over I can get in touch and at least be a volunteer. Thanks for bringing this up here...I had never heard of the Wilson County DART! One thing this organization needs is members and volunteers, so if you have a meeting planned after the new year, please let us know.
Mary, I am definetly interested in helping anyway I can. I think anything we can do to help our neighbors in times of distress would be beneficial in helping save these beautiful creatures and possibly prevent such large spread abusive from happening again.
Sounds like a timely idea. We are interested in volunteering. We live in Marshall county. Please keep us informed. thanks Diana
The website is our Wilson DART site, of which I am a member. We would really welcome all who would like to join in our team. We do have the trailer, supplies, etc., but more large animal volunteers would be a great addition to our team. We do certification for animal handling through the state's certification program, which qualifies you to go into the disaster situations and help with animal handling. I believe our next meeting will be in January, I think probably sometime around the third week.

We do deploy to surrounding counties when requested. The request has to be made through WEMA for our team to deploy, as we are not allowed to deploy independently without official request.

HSUS also has a National DART team which can be joined. It requires certification classes also, but would be well worth it.

There is also another group called Noah's Wish which deploys for emergencies concerning animals. I have been to one of their workshops as well, and it was very beneficial. They also have a website for anyone interested.
Mary, I am interested in helping out with this program. Let me know when you get started.
Debbie Gentry
I would be interested in doing this!
I am in Wilson County and would be interested in this. Some of the inexperience I saw handling horses at the TN State Fairgrounds could have been extremely dangerous for horse and human alike. Definitely need something like this for future natural and man-made disasters!
Hey folks sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this topic. We do have a group trying to get this project off the ground, and will be meeting next month to identify the group's mission/strategy, and steps to move forward. For now, it's a small focus group of area animal advocates, veterinarians, and emergency management professionals, but once we get a plan in place I am sure that your input and help would be greatly appreciated!!

Right now, I am looking for information on other "DART" and similar programs, so that we can pull as much info as possible from the success of other teams. If you are a member of or have worked with a DART group, please let me know!!

More info coming in February - thanks to all of you who have expressed an interest!!
All of you interested in DART, the Wilson Co. DART Team will be meeting tonight, 1-19-10 at 7 p.m. at the Gentry Building in the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Come join us!


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