All posts by Kelly Benton

2018 Storm Fury On the Plains

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service office in Wichita have partnered with local Emergency Management to present information that will help prepare storm spotters and weather enthusiasts for the upcoming storm season.  The presentations are hosted by local county Emergency Management agencies and typically last up to two hours. They are open to anyone that has an interest in weather. There are no fees to attend, you do not have to register, and you do not have to sign up to be a spotter. So, if you are interested in learning more about severe thunderstorms and their hazards, please take the time to come out and join us for a very interesting and enjoyable evening.

Click here for more information on a meeting near you

Welcome To Kansas Animal Response

The Kansas State Animal Response Team (KS SART) is a non-profit organization dedicated to development and support of regional animal response teams.  The regional teams are comprised of trained volunteer dedicated to providing temporary shelter and care for pets displaced by a disaster.  KS SART and affiliated regional animal response teams work together as the Animal Response Team Coalition of Kansas.

Volunteers are needed.  You can make a difference to people and their pets during disasters!  Consider joining a team today!

Hurricane Harvey Update

Photo- Doug Gross (Patch Staff)
Updated August 29, 2017 11:51 am 

Update 08/30/2017

KS SART is closely watching the animal response situation in Texas following Hurricane Harvey and is ready to offer assistance IF REQUESTED!    Of utmost importance is that NO ONE SELF-DEPLOY!

The nature of disasters is “hurry up and wait”.  Texas is skilled at dealing with disasters and has a robust animal disaster response capability. So far, they have handled pet issues locally and have reached out where necessary for assistance with transport and supply deliveries.  Pet Friendly shelters have been opened and neighbors are helping neighbors.  We are not surprised that they have not called for general outside support yet.  Response must be safe for humans and animals, responders and victims.

Again please DO NOT SELF-DEPLOY!  Disaster response is a huge challenge and adding unorganized, albeit with good intentions, untrained and unaffiliated responders is NOT acceptable or helpful!

You can make a difference through online donations too. Our recommendations of organizations currently assisting with Hurricane Harvey include:

There isn’t a rescue group in the country who can help everyone.  We must be prepared to take care of our families and our neighbors first.  

Make a plan for your family.  

Keeping the storm victims in Texas, and now Louisiana in our hearts and prayers.

Hurricane Harvey

Photo: Tiele Dockens

Trained Kansas Animal Response volunteers have been notified and given the opportunity to respond under one of our national animal response partners as animal sheltering volunteers.  Some Kansas animal response volunteers are also involved in the hurricane response through remote liaison and resource coordination efforts to support a partner response agency out of Kansas City.

Thank you to those in communities across Kansas who have asked how you can help the animals affected by Hurricane Harvey.   The best way to assist is by funding a legitimate animal response organization that is involved and donate money so that supplies can be purchased to help shelter and care for the displaced animals.  Be sure you know the organization you are donating to as sadly, scammers will take advantage of this situation.

If this disaster has inspired you to get involved then please take time to first sign up to be a volunteer for the Kansas Animal Response Coalition; and second, to take the required response training to become a certified animal responder.   Click here to learn more about how to sign up and where to go for training.

Shelter From The Storm – Pilot Workshop

Shelter From The Storm – Pilot Workshop

Thanks to the Florida State Animal Response Coalition for bringing their shelter awareness course to Kansas, the Kansas Humane Society for sharing their amazing facility and to the Red Cross for assisting with funding to make this training possible!  What a great addition to the training program for animal response team volunteers in Kansas and thanks to the first 39 volunteers who traveled in from all over the state to participate.  These amazing volunteers represented the KC Metro, North East, South East, South West and South Central regions!  In July the train-the-trainer version of the sheltering course will be conducted and 23 of these amazing volunteers are returning to become instructors for this workshop.  This means the workshop can be made available annually at the regional level!  Beginning in 2017 level 2 -Shelter From The Storm workshop will be added to the training curriculum, which began with level 1 – Train Today Respond Tomorrow, for animal response volunteers.  A third level, Operation Animal Response, is being planned for late 2017-early 2018 again collaborating with the Florida State Animal Response Coalition.

Shelter From The Storm: Train-The-Trainer

A huge thanks goes to the Florida State Animal Response Coalition for conducting a train-the-trainer workshop in Kansas.  “Shelter From The Storm” will be added as the second level to the Kansas animal response training program.    For a train-the-trainer workshop you need volunteers and a big thanks goes to the 20 animal response team volunteers who accepted the challenge to become Kansas trainers.  Made possible through the generous funding support of the Red Cross and held at the beautiful Kansas Humane Society facility, this project is a shinning example of how non-profit organizations can pull together for the greater good!

Meet the new Kansas trainers:

Kelly Benton
Dayna Boso
Amber Bowlby
Jennifer Burns
Stacy Cleaves
Stephanie Grandon
Jesica Harvey
Carolyn Jergenson
Henry Kevern
Carla Lewis
Carla Longacre
Peggy Oertwig
Sherry Oswald
Sue Parks
Mary Prewitt
Beth Rowlands
Paula Schreiber
Dana Steffee
Laura Stein
Kent Thomas

VIP Professional: Kansas State Animal Response Team

With tragedies, sometimes there are silver linings. When an EF-5 tornado hit Greensburg 10 years ago, a large number of animals were displaced when 95 percent of the Kansas town was destroyed. Sadly, not many of the pets were reunited with their owners.   That disaster brought to fruition, however, an idea that had been considered by several Kansas veterinarians a few years before: a statewide animal response team, or what Wichita vet Dr. Christen Skaer calls a “doggie and cat Red Cross,” to respond to catastrophic events that impact humans and their pets.

ASPCA Grant Awarded 2017

Midwestern States Receive $85,000 from ASPCA to Help Animals During Disasters


The Kansas State Animal Response team received $11,500 toward the purchase of a CAMET for the South East Regional Animal Response Team.  Tami Johnson, the SE regional team liaison, put in the time and effort to research, write and submit the grant.  Tami worked with KS SART for support during the grant process and will continue to do so through the process of spending the grant funds and purchasing the CAMET.  Read more…

Reno County Fires Spring 2017

Animal Response Team Updates

——————————————–Summary of Animal Response Efforts

Reno county emergency management initially activated animal response through the Reno county liaison (RL), of the South Central Regional Animal Response Team, to provide shelter and care for the displaced pets of Hutchinson residents in the Reno county wildfire evacuation area.   Through emergency management, the RL requested additional support from the full regional team.  Regional volunteers where then notified.  Eight volunteers worked with several Hutchinson Animal Shelter staff to temporarily shelter pets at the Hutchinson fairgrounds.  Shelter setup began about 8:00pm Monday, March 6 and was demobilized about 3:30pm Wednesday March 8th.  A few pets were transferred to the Hutchinson Animal Shelter to continue boarding until their owners were able to take them home.

photo by: Sandra J Milburn/The Hutchinson News
photo by: Sandra J Milburn/The Hutchinson News

Click here for media reports on the Reno county fires.

The updates below were shared with volunteers in the south central region who deployed, who replied to the call out with availability and to the KS SART board.  Both communications were sent via email and offer only animal response deployment details.

——————————————–First Update March 7, 2017 7:09am

Good morning and thank you for replying with your availability to support the people and pets of Hutchinson Kansas.  At this time we are still on standby.  Here is an update through 7 am this morning with regard to animal response efforts:
Monday, March 6
  • Reno volunteers were put on standby, conversations with Reno Co EM
  • call came from emergency management for assistance,
  • a small group of south central regional team volunteers + the CAMET housed in Reno were requested but needed assistance outside of their county
  • request came in to ask for south central regional volunteers in surrounding counties
  • a strike team of 5 volunteers were asked to head to Hutch w/the CAMET housed in Sedgwick Co to assist with shelter setup and assessment of the situation
  • reports were coming in of the possibility that most of Hutch could be evacuated
  • strike team heads to/arrives in Hutch
  • Shelter moves to Hutch fair grounds
  • standby notice out to SC regional responder volunteers via email w/link to provide availability details
  • social media posts also posted asking volunteers to check for email notice and reply
Tuesday, March 7
  • small shelter, 20 kennels are set up and ready
  • a few animals are being housed so skeleton crew stays, rest of crew are sent home to rest
  • review with crew to develop plan for today
  • overnight crew headed home by 8am
  • Reno group will cover sheltering today
  • Reno group will reach out if reinforcements are needed (if fires flare or situation worsens)
  • Crew will return tonight to retrieve CAMET housed in Sedgwick Co
Thank you again for your availability and for following the process to provide those details.  There will be a hot wash to review what worked, what needs to be improved, etc.  Thanks to Stacy Cleaves, Dayna Boso, Tammy Ritchie, Sue Parks, Amber Bowlby and Geri Watts, the strike team deployed last night.  Thank you to Christen Skaer and Jennifer Burns for their coordination efforts.
Great job team!
Kelly, Ks State Animal Response Team

——————————————Second And Final Update March 9, 1:06pm

Good afternoon and thank you for your offer to deploy in support of the Reno County fires in the Hutchinson area.  Here is a final status update on the situation:
Update as of 03/09/3017 at 12:55pm:
  • 15:00 3/8/2017 – temporary animal shelter at Hutch Fairgrounds was demobilized and animals transferred with owner permission to the Hutch Animal Shelter for a few more days of boarding.
  • Some horses still remain at the Hutchinson Fairgrounds, KS SART helped coordinate supplies and manage donations for those animals, working with the assigned veterinarian on scene.  Update as of this morning, most horses have gone home.  Expectation is remaining horses will go home Friday 3/10 and the temporary large animal shelter at the Hutch Fairgrounds will be demobilized.  Expecting a final report Friday from assigned veterinarian on scene.
The next steps include:
  • a hot wash of the deployment with those who responded from the south central animal response team (in the next week)
  • submission of animal response details to emergency management, including time, donations & veterinary costs (in the next week)
  • review/approval of suggested deployment process modifications  as a result of the hot wash (in the next month)
  • implementation of approved deployment process modifications for animal response (in the next few months)
  • sharing this information (review and implementation plan) with the other regional animal response teams
Thank you again for your willingness to respond in this disaster.  As you know, it will not be feasible for every responder volunteer to be available for every response.  When you can respond please do, but remember the safety and needs of your family must come first.
Kelly, Unit Coordinator – Ks State Animal Response Team