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Debut of 50-foot animal rescue vehicle at Bergen shelter set for Weather Channel broadcast

Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE

SHOUT OUT: A gigantic holiday gift promising a healthier, happier and safer New Year for the animals of the Northeast will be unveiled Monday at the Bergen County Animal Shelter — and will be broadcast nationally on The Weather Channel.

One year after Hurricane Sandy, the American Humane Association will dedicate its new 50-foot-long emergency rescue vehicle, designed to provide help to the Northeast during disasters. It will carry four certified and specially trained responders, along with supplies and equipment to shelter up to 100 animals.

ALL PHOTOS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE

Made possible through donations to the AHA, the country’s first national humanitarian organization, the truck is the latest addition to an emergency services program that rescues and shelters animals in crises, and provides animal-assisted therapy to children and families following traumatic events.

The program began in World War I by saving wounded horses and has been part of every major disaster relief effort since, from Pearl Harbor to Hurricane Katrina, the Oklahoma tornado, the Colorado floods, 9/11, and Superstorm Sandy.

When Sandy struck, the AHA’s Red Star team delivered more than 100,000 pounds of emergency food, supplies, and medicines to animal shelters in Bergen and Atlantic counties and provided lifesaving shelter and supplies to New York and Pennsylvania. It underscored the need to devote a vehicle to the region.

“The dedication of the new Red Star vehicle continues to enhance our partnership with American Humane Association and is another step toward making Bergen County and the surrounding communities better prepared to respond to disasters and weather-related emergencies,” says Dr. Nancy L. Mangieri, director of the Bergen County Department of Health Services.

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STORY BY: Joseph Appio (BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE’S OFFICE)

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“The Northeast is the most populous area in the country,” says philanthropist and for the new emergency vehicle and has financed other major additions to the fleet in regions the country. “American Humane Association has deployed many times to help during crises and we are pleased to be able to take a step toward better protecting the families, kids and more than 30 million animals who found themselves in the path last year of  Hurricane Sandy.

“We saw the toll the storm took on the Northeast last year and wanted to make a difference,” said AHA Board Member Lois Pope, who provided the lead funding. “By investing in this new emergency vehicle, we may help keep more families safer during the next disaster.”

The American Humane Association is also a leader in providing animal-assisted therapy to children and families experiencing crises, medical illnesses, deployments of their parents during military duty, and other challenges. In April, its animal-assisted therapy team brought calm and healing to Boston following the marathon terror bombings.

Last week, AHA and The Weather Channel announced the launch of a nationwide search to find a therapy dog who will assist with recovery in hard-hit communities affected by severe weather.

In the weeks and months following a natural disaster, The Weather Channel therapy dog and association handler will visit schools, hospitals, shelters and other locations in hard-hit communities to bring comfort and service.

MORE INFO: weather.com/therapydog

ALL PHOTOS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE

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