NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To celebrate its 100th anniversary of rescuing animals from war, hurricanes, floods, wild fires and other disasters, American Humane Association, the country's first national humane organization, unveiled a gigantic gift – an investment, really, for America's animals – in front of the New York Stock Exchange, where they rang the opening bell.
A giant 50-foot-long animal rescue truck was dedicated to helping animals caught in natural disasters and manmade crises such as hoarding and cruelty cases. Funded by the Kirkpatrick Foundation, the William H. Donner Foundation (in memory of the late Belinda Donner), and others, the rescue vehicle will be stationed in Oklahoma's Tornado Alley, debuting on May 20th – the anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that devastated the city of Moore in 2013. Following that disaster, American Humane Association's Red Star® Rescue team deployed for a full month, helping to rescue, shelter, and care for hundreds of animals.
The new vehicle, which can carry lifesaving supplies and sheltering equipment for 100 animals, will be staffed with a licensed veterinarian. When deployed, American Humane Association's disaster responders and members of its national corps of volunteers will travel to disaster zones and live in it as they rescue animals. When not deployed, the vehicle will be used for rescue in cruelty and hoarding cases, and as an important teaching tool to help first responders train and prepare for disaster situations.
"May marks 100 years since the creation of our legendary animal rescue program, which was born on the battlefield of World War I Europe when the U.S. Secretary of War asked us to save wounded war horses," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president of American Humane Association. "During that terrible time, we rescued and cared for 68,000 horses a month and since then we have been part of virtually every major disaster response from Pearl Harbor to 9/11; Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina; the Mount St. Helen's eruption; the Joplin, Missouri tornado; the Japanese and Haitian earthquakes; and Superstorm Sandy. Over just the past ten years American Humane Association has saved, helped and sheltered more than 80,000 animals."
"At Kirkpatrick Foundation, we are committed to improving the quality of life for all animals in our state," said Louisa McCune, executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation. "In fact, by the year 2032, we want Oklahoma to become the best place in the United States—and the world over—to be an animal. Our first grant to the American Humane Association helped defray costs of their rescue efforts in the aftermath of the 2013 tornadoes. We then began working with them on a larger, more visionary effort to help make Oklahoma City a pacesetter in animal rescue. With this vehicle and American Humane Association's new relationship with OSU-OKC, Oklahoma will become a regional leader for all disasters requiring immediate rescue care for animals. We are honored to partner with American Humane Association and OSU-OKC in this way. National and state experts in animal rescue working in unison with public safety officers will help advance animal and human welfare in the state."
"This new rescue vehicle is a major investment in America's animals and families," said Dr. Ganzert. "The newest American Humane Association animal rescue vehicle is specifically designed and outfitted to provide a wide array of animal emergency services and will be a beacon of hope for communities reeling from disasters. We already have giant rescue trucks stationed to protect the Northeast, the Southeast, and the Rocky Mountain area. This strengthening of our nation's emergency operations is a great gift and we thank the William H. Donner Foundation, Kirkpatrick Foundation, and the other major donors in this effort who care about the most vulnerable in times of greatest need."
The dedication event during the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange was made possible by leading animal health company Zoetis, which funded the American Humane Association rescue vehicle protecting the animals of the Northeast.
"Zoetis is proud to be a long-time supporter and partner of the American Humane Association," said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP, group director, Companion Animal Marketing at Zoetis. "It's our pleasure to sponsor today's bell ringing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Association's life-saving work during times of disaster and emergency. We commend Dr. Ganzert and her organization for their truly extraordinary efforts to go above and beyond to help protect the health and welfare of America's animals."
More than 30 VIPs attended the dedication during the ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, including American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert; American Humane Association board members Dawn Assenzio, and Dr. J. Michael McFarland (of Zoetis); William H. Donner Foundation trustees Alexander B. Donner, Joseph W. Donner, Jr., and Deborah Donner, with Annette DeLorenzo; Kirkpatrick Foundation executives Robert Clements, Louisa McCune, and George Records; Zoetis executives Linda Block, Laura Della Guardia, Jonathan Hirschmann, Kristen Seely, Dr. Shelley Stanford, and Colleen White; American Humane Association friends and VIPs Dr. Caren Caty, Sody Clements, Helene Kovens, Rebecca Anne Perl, Judi Miracle Richards, Raymond Richards, Robert Schnell, Abigail Trenk, Annie Watt, and Debbie Wells; and American Humane Association's National Director of Red Star Rescue and Emergency Services for Animals Randal Collins, National Director for Military Affairs Capt. Jason Haag, USMC (Ret.) and his service dog Axel, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Communications Jack Hubbard, Chief Operating Officer Audrey Lang, Chief Communications Officer Mark Stubis, and Presidential Aide Andrew Goff.
HISTORIC TIMELINE: To see a historic timeline with photos capturing 100 years of American Humane Association's animal rescue work, click here: http://kindness100.org/pdfs/100-years-of-animal-rescue.pdf.
To learn more or to support American Humane Association's rescue services, please visit www.americanhumane.org.
About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization, and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. With an unparalleled reach and scope, the organization positively touches more than 42,000 lives each minute through effective, life-affirming, life-saving services and public outreach – more than any other organization in its field. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today it is leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.
About the Kirkpatrick Foundation
The Kirkpatrick Foundation, founded in 1955 by John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick, is a private foundation located in Oklahoma City. The philanthropy funds arts, culture, education, animal wellbeing, environmental conservation, and historic preservation organizations.
Zoetis (zô-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2014, the company generated annual revenue of $4.8 billion. With approximately 10,000 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2015, Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in 120 countries. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.
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SOURCE American Humane Association