LOCAL

Strain unveils mobile pet shelter

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

On Aug. 27, Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. – Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) – unveiled a mobile pet shelter at Lamar Dixon, Gonzales.

Designed to assist in transporting and sheltering household pets during declared emergencies, LDAF is designated by the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act to perform this duty.

“The purpose of immediate onsite sheltering with the mobile pet shelter is to provide safe transport of pets and have the ability to relocate and quickly co-locate them with their owners,” Strain said.

“The evacuation, transportation and sheltering of household pets during disasters has become necessary as a lifesaving measure. What we have experienced in the past are victims who have refused assistance unless their pets were accommodated.”  

Funding to support the project came by way of a $40,000 donation from the Louisiana State Animal Response Team, Dr. Walter J. Ernst, Jr. Veterinary Memorial Foundation and Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association.

“The Louisiana State Animal Response Team, Dr. Walter J. Ernst, Jr. Veterinary Memorial Foundation and Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association were pleased to participate in funding this important capability for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry,” said LSART Director Renee Poirrier, D.V.M.

“This disaster pet shelter will expand the state's ability to transport and shelter pets and assist people with pets in getting out of harm's way.”

The mobile pet shelter is a tractor trailer that has a 55 pet capacity. It is equipped with metal cages, generator, battery power and a wash down system. It has an air ventilation system to provide proper air circulation and temperature for the pets.

The household pet plan includes 48-53 foot transport trucks with assembled pet cages and staff to assist parishes with the evacuation, transportation and sheltering of evacuees’ pets. The LDAF’s current pet sheltering plan can accommodate thousands of pets at mega pet shelters. The new mobile pet shelter unit will also be used in search and rescue missions and will be available, upon request, to other states during a disaster.

The total cost of the project was $80,000, with the LDAF providing the additional funding.