When 367 dogs were rescued from a multistate dog-fighting ring last month, a Petfinder Foundation-funded truck and trailer helped the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and other agencies save their lives.
“We couldn’t have done it without that equipment,” Shannon Walajtys, IFAW’s animal rescue program manager for disaster response, tells us.
The Petfinder Foundation granted the truck and trailer to IFAW in 2007, just after Hurricane Katrina struck.
IFAW Animal Rescue Officer Jennifer Gardner says the truck proved essential when HSUS asked IFAW to travel from Cape Cod, Mass., to Georgia to assist with the dog-fighting bust.
“The truck was one of three animal-rescue rigs that were integral in our support of HSUS,” Gardner says.
The truck and 36-foot trailer were loaded with field equipment and also offered a refuge for first responders. “It was that go-to vehicle that had the first-aid kits, the coolers with water and Gatorade, the fruits and vegetables we brought for responders. It was the place for people to take a five-minute break when they needed to after being on the crime scene,” Walajtys says.
Walajtys says the 367 seized dogs have been moved to temporary shelters and that IFAW will continue to assist HSUS and the ASPCA as needed on the case. Meanwhile, the Petfinder Foundation’s truck and trailer have moved on to their next assignment with IFAW.
“It’s been demobilized and sent to Mississippi,” Gardner says, “so it can be ready and staged during the hurricane season.”