Passionate about Pet Rescue

Robyn Keiter, Veterinary Product Support, Animal Health

I’m suited up to begin animal rescues following Hurricane Harvey.

Disaster response looks much different today than what we saw in 2005. In Hurricane Katrina, the nation watched as an estimated 100,000 pets were left behind and as many as 70,000 died in the storm and its aftermath, according the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA.) Since 2005, many states have put laws in place that require emergency management officials to address disaster planning for animals.

BART (Big Animal Rescue Truck)

In 2014, I was lucky enough to meet the Disaster Response Director of Code 3 Associates and get a tour of BART, the mobile command center for Code 3 responders during a disaster.

I was hooked. I found my new passion. I completed my FEMA National Incident Management System certification and deployed for my first response in 2015. Certifications in Large Animal Rescue Operations, Animal Search and Rescue, and Technical Rope and Swiftwater Rescue now allow me to respond to natural disasters like we recently saw.

Checking on pets during a transport of animals from Galveston, Texas, to the Houston SPCA.

My team was tasked with helping in both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Code 3 Associates usually schedules two teams to deploy to disasters, in case of long-term needs. I was with the first team for Harvey.

Following Hurricane Harvey, we assisted the Houston SPCA with water rescues, animal welfare checks and transport of more than 100 animals being moved from shelters in affected areas to make room for displaced animals. Most memorably, we helped rescue Diesel, a 150-pound Mastiff who, due to an injury, was unable to move from the flooded bottom level of his home. Code 3 and our partner organizations were able to get a cold, wet, and weak Diesel to the SPCA where he received the care he needed.

Enjoying successful animal rescue efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

Along with my volunteer work with Code 3 Associates, I am lucky to be on the teaching team of a local animal response and training group. Animal Search and Rescue/Equine Emergency Response Unit (ASAR/EERU) works closely with Code 3 Associates to provide both disaster response and training services. With them, I teach first responder groups about animal handling, first aid, triage, and CPR.
 Bayer Animal Health is working with ASAR/EERU to provide much needed products to veterinarians in disaster-affected areas. Although the program is slated to begin in 2018, Bayer did not ignore the needs brought by the recent hurricanes. Bayer provided ASAR with $25,000 in products so they could be distributed to shelters caring for injured and sick animals displaced by the storm.

I am honored to work for a company that is so proactive in supporting disaster response efforts on a national scale. My company and my team support and allow me to deploy, sometimes at a moment’s notice. Added to this generosity are the much needed product donations that are used to care for an important, but not forgotten, group of victims in disaster events: family pets.