WHY WE STARTED.
We started this organization on September 30, 2005 after bravely having deployed on our own down to MS and LA to help the animals after Hurricane Katrina. The reason we started this charity was to help with the horrific experiences we endured helping the animals; and simply found our calling and mission to help all animals before, during and after disasters - so that NO animal was ever left behind again. Many animals were forced to be left behind due to horrible laws and complete refusal of providing the proper resources by officials. Since Hurricane Katrina new laws have been passed to protect all animals but we are still seeing (in 2018) the lack of funding happen for the animals which provides the vital resources in helping save their lives before, during and after disasters. Since Hurricane Katrina we have deployed and assisted in many declared disasters in various communities across the Midwest. After the Greensboro, Kansas tornado we upped our priority level of developing our own shelter facility due to the, once again, horrific experiences. We found five acres of land that had become a dumping ground and with 6 months of hard physical labor we cleaned up the land, acquired a donated building and rehabbed this building to meet the State of Missouri Department of Agriculture Animal Care Shelter Laws. Our shelter was up and running when the tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. We worked closely with the Joplin Shelter Veterinarian and our Shelter Veterinarian with transferring in nearly 100 animals; mostly being cats deemed currently unadoptable, due to young age, injuries, sickness, nursing moms or PTSD syndromes. We took the cats after their 30 day hold at the Joplin shelter, when no owners claimed them. Joplin was one of the first shelters in history in the Midwest to step up and commit to holding all tornado animal victims on a 30 day hold versus the normal practice of 10 days. Please know that every shelter across the Midwest has it's own rules on hold times; some have 24 hours while others have 15 days. Many shelters, especially tax payer funded/government ran facilities are often considered open admission kill shelters; meaning they take all animals and they do perform euthanasia. Sadly many are what we in this industry call high-kill; meaning they often have short hold times and if the animals are not reclaimed, adopted or tagged for shelters/rescues to transfer are euthanized because their volume is extremely high. Sadly Missouri has many of these shelters. We have witnessed many of these high kill shelters act very irresponsible, when a disaster struck their community, and would immediately begin euthanizing animals in their shelters and often many of the incoming injured or sick animals that are considered disaster victims. There is still a great deal of work in this unique industry of helping animals surrounding disasters and until every shelter in every community makes the oath and commitment to act responsible with the compassion & proper resources that so many of us expect for animals; before, during and after disasters - our work will never be done!
After Joplin, to continue to expand our own knowledge and skills we have continued to help animals that were in danger. In fact because of the declined economy and the silent housing foreclosure crisis in and around our own community, we coined the internal witnessing of what we were experiencing as the Silent Disaster for these animals. In the past 10 years we have watched many of the tax-payer funded/government or even contracted by government to a charity; ran shelters strengthen their internal laws of what animals they will help. Basically what we are now seeing is invisible border lines being drawn. The days of helping animals because the "animal" needs the help seems to be slipping away. What we are now watching are shelters requiring residency by those who wish to turn in an animal, even if it's someone who just was helping the animal from being hit by cars. Even worse we are seeing a huge rise in what is called "surrendering fee's" by many of these tax payer funded shelters. We've witnessed many of these shelters require such fee's by good samaritians from $10 upwards to $125 per animal. We've seen discrimination within these new laws as well where a highly desirable animal from outside of the shelters boundary lines be accepted with no surrender fee or a small surrender fee be assessed to the more hard to adopt animals due to breed, age or even coat color (such as a black kitten to a black lab) found inside the shelters boundary lines being assessed high surrender fees.
The Emergency Management industry is also complex and continues to change each year.
So our goal has and continues to be acquiring the recognized credentials in Emergency Management but also bringing in our own experience and the experiences of others of caring for animals; into helping animals of disasters - before, during and after.
Coalition For Animal Response and Rescue Missouri.