The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) has a new vehicle in its fleet that will expand the team’s capabilities by allowing it to evacuate animals from areas most heavily impacted by disaster.
The 28-foot trailer is a donation from the Banfield Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and is the second vehicle the group has donated to the VET. They previously donated a medical platform truck in 2017 that has since been deployed several times in VET responses along the Texas coast.
The new trailer will be largely used in the evacuation phase of hurricanes and flooding, enabling faster and safer transportation of animals to hospitalization or shelter areas. It can comfortably transport 44 small animals as well as enable ill, injured, or anxious animals to be separated from other animals undergoing assessment or treatment.
“Time and time again, we witness the highly compassionate and effective disaster response capabilities from Dr. Wesley Bissett and his incredible team,” said Kim Van Syoc, executive director of the Banfield Foundation. “We are honored to once again increase our investment in Texas A&M and the entire VET as we collectively work toward reducing the devastating consequences of disasters and increasing access to veterinary care and shelter for animals in urgent need.”
This is the first VET vehicle designed for evacuation of animals, which will add a new dimension of response capability.
The trailer was custom designed by the VET based on its unique needs and insights from prior deployments. Along with the 44 kennels, it features an onboard generator, two rooftop air conditioning units, a 30-gallon freshwater tank, and exterior flood lights that will allow the vehicle to be used in any conditions.
This vehicle also has the potential to be utilized during non-emergency situations with the VET.
When not deployed in an emergency, the VET works with communities and local agencies to train and develop emergency plans. The VET also educates fourth-year veterinary students on disaster response during two-week clinical rotations.
“This addition really expands our ability to respond. In the past, for the most part, we’ve had to rely on people bringing their animals to us. This is going to allow us to go into the hardest-hit areas and get our hands on those animals faster,” said VET Director Dr. Wesley Bissett. “Time is critical in emergency response, so we’re incredibly grateful to the Banfield Foundation for this vehicle because it’s going to really change the way we’re able to respond.”
About the Texas A&M University Veterinary Emergency Team
The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team deploys the largest and most sophisticated veterinary medical disaster response team in the country. Since it’s creation in 2011, the VET has cared for thousands of animals while responding to areas impacted by wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and more. The team has also been deployed out of state to assist with sheltering efforts during wildfires in California in both 2018 and 2020. Dedicated to “Serving our state and nation every day,” the team prides itself on adhering to the Aggie Core Values through response, outreach, education, research, and selfless service by developing and providing cutting-edge emergency management education, advancing knowledge in emergency-preparedness education and response, and building upon the legacy of service that is at the heart of Texas A&M University.
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVMBS Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216