All posts by Robyn Keiter

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

Operation Holiday 2016

Again this year, the Sedgwick County Animal Response Team is partnering with Inter-Faith Ministries and Skaer Veterinary Clinic to provide pet food to those in need this holiday season! Last year, we supplied over 1,500 bags of pet food and expect the need to be greater this year!   Monetary donations are being requested so that pet food can be purchased at a discounted rate, meaning we can make your donation go farther and help more pets!  Drop your monetary donation off at any one of these businesses by Wednesday, December 14:

Skaer Veterinary Clinic
Indian Hills Animal Clinics
All Paws Pet Centers
Meritrust Credit Union locations in Wichita

Thank you for helping us help pets in need this holiday season.



The State Animal Response Team Coalition of Kansas was featured in the October KDEM planning and mitigation branch newsletter, “Planning Points” under the resource highlight section.

The State Animal Response Team Coalition of Kansas is emergency management’s resource for pets in a disaster in Kansas! This trained coalition of volunteers is prepared to provide temporary shelter and care for animals displaced in a disaster. They stand ready to deploy across Kansas at the request of emergency management. The Kansas State Animal Response Team (KSSART), the umbrella agency for the Coalition, manages policy, procedures and training for the local teams and provides coordinative efforts in a disaster. The local teams (county or regional) are the deployable resource and the public education advocates of the coalition. The regional/county teams are responsible for: educating the public on animal disaster preparedness and response (often at the county level by the regional sub-group of CART volunteers) and responding in disasters, when requested by emergency management, to provide temporary shelter and care for pets displaced by a disaster.

Point of Contact:

Kelly Benton KS SART Unit Coordinator
Kansas State Animal Response Team
6505 E Central, Box 160 Wichita, KS 67206
Office: 316-200-5347

Click here to read more of this article (page 3-4) and the full Planning Points Newletter



MOU Signed with Kansas Humane Society

April 4, 2016 – The Sedgwick County Animal Response Team signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kansas Humane Society

The Sedgwick County Animal Response Team supports the Kansas Humane Society at a ribbon cutting ceremony that celebrated the installation of a generator to keep the power on at the Kansas Humane Society during a disaster.  The two organizations took another major step together toward implementation of disaster preparedness plans for pets in the community by signing an MOU.

“It is exciting to see KHS working on disaster preparedness planning with the installation of the generator and the development of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Sedgwick County Animal Response Team.  The two organizations worked together during the Oaklawn tornado, but formalizing this partnership will serve to further improve animal disaster response.”   – Jeannette Livingston, Sedgwick County Animal Response Team President


KHS Parnters With Animal Response in Pet Disaster Preparedness and Response

“It is exciting to see KHS working on disaster preparedness planning with the installation of the generator and the development of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Sedgwick County Animal Response Team.  The two organizations worked together during the Oaklawn tornado, but formalizing this partnership will serve to further improve animal disaster response.”  – Jeannette Livingston, Sedgwick County Animal Response Team President

Read more…