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Don't forget the pets

New trailers provide ‘animal shelters in a box’ during evacuations

On Thursday, June 28, CART and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society hosted an exercise to practice using two new trailers that can house animals in the event of an evacuation situation. The “catastrophe” was a flood and a small corps of volunteers worked throughout the morning to corral and organize cats and dogs from the shelter in Menands.

On Thursday, June 28, CART and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society hosted an exercise to practice using two new trailers that can house animals in the event of an evacuation situation. The “catastrophe” was a flood and a small corps of volunteers worked throughout the morning to corral and organize cats and dogs from the shelter in Menands. Alyssa Jung

— Eileen Hellmuth of East Greenbush signed up to volunteer for the exercise. She said having adopted a pet from the Humane Society, she wanted to help out.

“I totally support this cause,” said Hellmuth. “It’s a great idea. You don’t really know how prepared you are until the emergency actually happens.”

The trailers haven’t been deployed yet, save for Thursday’s practice run, but Shear said they’re sure to come in handy.

“We got them just after Hurricane Irene, so if we’d gotten them about a month earlier, we probably would have deployed them to help with Irene,” said Shear.

During Tropical Storm Irene, Shear said the Humane Society housed evacuated animals. There was not nearly enough space or equipment, though, to accomplish what the two CART trailers can.

The trailers will be used throughout Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer counties but since they were bought with a state grant, they can technically be sent all over the state.

“If they’re available and there’s a disaster anywhere else in the state, another county could come and pick up the trailers,” said Shear.

Some volunteers like Judy Robertson saw the mock disaster as an educational opportunity. She recently found herself facing potential evacuation when her neighbor’s house caught fire. The biggest problem? Robertson had no idea what to do with her three cats.

“My next door neighbor’s house burnt down and we were afraid my own would catch fire. … I realized that I was not prepared to try to get them out of the house in an emergency,” said Robertson. “I figured I could learn a little bit here by volunteering.”

During the exercise, volunteers unloaded the CART trailer, laid out tarps and set up cages and other equipment in the Village of Menands Department of Public Works building.

Those interested in volunteering for CART in the future can sign up at the Albany County Citizen Corps website at www.registeredandready.com. For more information about the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, visit www.mohawkhumane.org.

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