Newsflash

Now the PA State Animal Response Team Needs Our Help!

After sheltering dozens of pets through recent ice storms, TS Irene, TS Lee and Superstorm Sandy, and many smaller disasters, a drying up of Federal grant funding endangers this vital effort.

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The News

Or change the leadership structure to elect a President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary from the volunteer Board and have those officers run the daily operations of the organization.

The Federal grants from the Department of Homeland Security that funded the start up of the PA State Animal Response Team have dried up.  Unless and until there is another large scale terrorist attack or major natural disaster, we do not anticipate that focus will return to such civil defense matters.  As a result, PASART no longer has the ability to pay an Executive Director.  Mr. Joel Hersh continues in that position as a volunteer at this point which the PFDC finds totally unacceptable.

Inspectors from the Department of Homeland Security and the PA Emergency Management Agency have seen PASART's County Animal Response Teams in action during Three Mile Island preparedness drills and other drills.  They have seen them in action during Tropical Storm Lee, Hurricane Irene, Superstorm Sandy, the ice storms of 2014 and dozens of smaller incidents in the last 10 years.  They know and tacitly acknowledge the value of these teams. 

While PASART continues to be operationally ready under the volunteer leadership of Joel Hersh, it cannot continue like this indefinitely.  At some point, Mr. Hersh will not be willing or able to continue and the Board of PASART will have to go in search of a new leader.  The Board will not succeed in finding another capable Executive Director without funding to pay for such talent.  The PA Legislature should fund a position within the PA Emergency Management Agency or the PA Department of Agriculture whose primary responsibility will be leading the PA State Animal Response Team.  The PA Federation of Dog Clubs calls upon the Legislature to do this immediately!

When we have suggested this at PASART Board meetings, representatives of PEMA and PDA shake their heads saying funding is too tight.  We believe if the members of PFDC member clubs bring this situation to the attention of their legislators back home, and point out the value of PASART to us, our neighbors and the first responders who risk their lives for us, political will can be built to make this happen! 

Alternatively, the entire Board of PASART is now made up of volunteers from stakeholders like the PFDC.  We have a Board Chair, Secretary and Treasurer who along with the paid Executive Director make up an executive committee that handles most of the daily operational needs of PASART.  This structure worked well for the first 7 years of PASART while it was getting grants from the Federal government and needed to account for them.  Now, if the By-Laws are changed to elect a President instead of a Board Chair, and add a Vice-President office, these officers could take over the daily operational needs of the organization.  This is how the PFDC and many other volunteer organizations are structured.  We believe it could work for PASART, and eliminate the need to find funding for a paid Executive Director.

Please bring this up at your meetings and invite PFDC leaders to attend so we can further explain the issues.  The survival of your dogs in the next disaster may depend on it.