Family and pet reunited after Oaklawn tornado.How Animal Response Teams Began

1999 Hurricane Floyd

As a result of Hurricane Floyd, the state animal response team (SART) model originated in North Carolina.  Over three million pets, livestock, and poultry perished in that event, a figure that could have been substantially reduced with a coordinated emergency plan to address animal and agricultural animal issues.  The North Carolina state animal response program was created as a partnership between state governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations.  Working within existing emergency management and response systems, including the Incident Command System (ICS), North Carolina SART’s mission was to ensure their state was prepared to address issues related to any disaster, any animal, anywhere in their state.

2003 AVMF Offers Support

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation hosted a pilot presentation of the North Carolina state animal response  model in Colorado.  An audience of over 80 people representing 60 state agencies and non-governmental organizations spent two days assimilating and planning.

2004 Kansas Steps Up

The Kansas State Animal Response Team begins as a steering committee, through an initiative of the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association.  A statewide symposium was held to gain interest from the Emergency Management community.

2007 Kansas State Animal Response Team is Incorporated

While maintaining sponsorship by the KVMA the Kansas State Animal Response Team officially forms as a non-profit, public 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and continues to develop its organizational structure, training program and recruit key officers, board members, and volunteers.  Many states are now involved and programs have developed as State Animal Response Teams, State Agricultural Response Teams, or State Animal Resource Teams.

Further Development of Kansas Animal Response

The Kansas State Animal Response Team, in late 2012, began coordinating efforts to develop a regional plan for animal response teams in Kansas. The methodology for building teams began with county animal response teams or “CART”. Eventually the realization of this overwhelming task, developing a CART in all 105 Kansas counties, was acknowledged and in 2012 the regional team concept began to develop.

In 2017 and 2018 great strides have been made to adopt the regional team concept as the methodology moving forward.   Johnson County Animal Response Team (JoCART) was the first CART to take the next step, choosing to move forward operating as the Kansas KC Metro Animal Response Team.  Retiring the JoCART name and moving forward with the spirit of the same great people, the choice was made to continue operations as the Ks KCMetro Animal Response Team.  Embracing the regional concept with this key gesture was challenging yet immediately beneficial.  The name conveys an inclusive team spirit that is welcoming to volunteers from Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties and gives recognition to the greater Kansas City metropolitan area that this team supports.

The Sedgwick County Animal Response Team recently choose to move forward regionally, moving forward as the South Central Animal Response Team, which encompasses 19 counties in the south central region of Kansas.  Dr. Christen Skaer, founder of the Kansas animal response effort, stated “it’s the next evolution and necessary to maximize resources.  I am proud of the Sedgwick County Animal Response Team board supporting this strategic move.”

Kansas Regional Disaster Response Map