The need is real. The time is now.
In September 2013 AKC Reunite, formerly AKC CAR (AKC Companion Animal Recovery) launched a project called AKC Reunite Pet Disaster Relief. The heart of this trailer donation project was for AKC Clubs to offer local municipalities a safe haven for citizens and their pets to be safely evacuated together during a disaster or an emergency. This program was an especially exciting opportunity to give back to our local community as it was uniquely designed to support all household pets, not just dogs that competed in AKC shows.
At a NEMKC board meeting in September 2013 approval was given by the NEMKC Board of Directors to explore the possibilities with both Cecil County and Harford County Emergency Services. NEMKC Members Ann Schultz and Mary Lou Olszewski first met with Cecil County where it was obvious that they needed help and that was the beginning the wonderful partnership NEMKC has today with Mark Sweitzer, Emergency Management Planner, and Richard K. Brooks III, Director of Emergency Services, Cecil County, MD. Director Brooks challenged us to attend an upcoming Fire Expo to kick off our new found partnership. NEMKC participated and the rest is history. The Cecil County Trailer was delivered in early May, 2014, and has the recognition of being the first one delivered in the State of Maryland.
Also in October Ann Schultz and Mary Lou Olszewski met with Linda Ploener, Manager of Emergency Planning for Harford County and Pam Arney, Chief of Animal Control, Harford County, MD, to discuss the possibilities. Before the meeting was over Emergency Management Manager Rick Ayer stopped in to introduce himself and Linda Ploener was researching funding possibilities. The rest is now history. The Harford County Trailer was also delivered in early May, 2014. In February 2016, Kent County received their AKC Reunite Pet Disaster Relief Trailer.
NEMKC members are proud of being able to give back to their communities. We celebrated our accomplishments with formal dedications of both the Harford and Cecil County trailers. Our members and their dogs enjoyed attending these events. Today both trailers are in use and actively participating in Emergency Management Drills and anytime members of our communities need to be evacuated. While we won’t ever know when the next disaster or emergency will occur we do know that our communities of Harford and Cecil Counties are now better prepared to help its citizens and their pets be safe.