Kansas animal rescue volunteers ready to help Florida pets

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Courtesy: Butler County Animal Response Team Facebook Page Courtesy: Butler County Animal Response Team Facebook Page
AUGUSTA, Kan. (KAKE) -

"We're always on call," said Janell Jessep, one of the founding members of the Butler County Animal Response Team.

Trained animal rescuers say they're ready if Florida needs them to help rescue and shelter pets as Hurricane Dorian passes through.

As Hurricane Dorian picks up strength and begins to wreak havoc in the Bahamas, preparations in Florida are well underway.  Those preparations may end up including some Kansans.

"We'll go wherever we're asked to be," Jessep said.

The Animal Response Team in Butler Bounty is officially part of the county's Emergency Management Agency.  But the members can and still do deploy with other agencies as requested.

"We're also trained and can respond with ASPCA and code 3 associates (a Colorado based organization)," said Jessep.

The volunteers train year round to respond to disaster zones, whether it's Butler County, elsewhere in Kansas, or helping other organizations around the country.

Often, they set up animal shelters for evacuees.

"We want people to know that they can bring their animals, there will be a place for them.  Our team may not set up at the same location as the people shelter, but we will be as close in proximity as we can," she said.

They also help with rescues.

"They're trained in water rescue.  They're trained in ice rescue.  We're trained in large animal rescue.  We're trained in high and low angle rescues," Jessep explained.

Because they know saving the pets can help survivors of disasters keep moving forward.

"The animal is your one constant," she explained.  "And, to most people, animals are family.  And to have their animals taken care of and to know that they're going to be there, safe and ready for them when they can get back into their home or alternate living situations, it's very important to those people."

At one point this weekend, three of the Butler County Animal Response Team members were on standby to head to Florida with a national organization.  While they've since been waved off, they're still ready when and if the call for help comes.

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