Disaster Relief...Preparing for Ivan

ABN file photo

As the third and perhaps most powerful of three hurricanes in less than one month sets its sights on Florida residents are making preparations for the storm.

For many, coping with the approaching storm, means concern for their own safety as well as that of companion animals, livestock and animals in public trust such as those at aquariums, zoos and theme parks. Clearwater Marine Aquarium today announced that hurricane preparations are underway and the facility will be closed beginning this Monday, September 13th.

In a related story the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, which is holding its annual conference in Orlando this weekend, announced preparations for emergency veterinary assistance to the state of Florida. State Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Thomas Holt says that Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams or VMATs are staged in Southern Pines North Carolina ready to deploy after Ivan to assist volunteer efforts to aid Florida's stricken animal population. Holt said, "In Charley, one of our counties had 13 practices, and there was only one in operation because of the power outages or actual damage to their buildings. Other practitioners were coming in and assisting in that practice. Teams of veterinarians volunteered to provide care at locations because there wasn't local care."

Also today it was announced that Massachusetts' Tufts University has been named the recipient of a $50 million dollar grant to expand its School of Veterinary Medicine. The Grant is from the Cummings Foundation. "This gift will help fund needed capital improvements, provide matching funds in support of major research proposals, and greatly strengthen both the educational and clinical mission of the School." said Dr. Philip Kosch, Dean of Veterinary Medicine.
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