Monday, June 9, 2014

Red Cross Participates in Pet Sheltering Exercise

Story by Kathleen Rowland. Photos by Walt Palmer

The American Red Cross participated in a pet sheltering in disaster exercise Saturday, June 7, 2014. The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) conducted the pet sheltering exercise at the Humane Society’s main facility on Abbot Street and also at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church on Tejon Street in Colorado Springs.  Twelve Red Cross volunteers participated in the sheltering exercise working closely with HSPPR to learn more about how the two organizations can work together during disasters. The Red Cross volunteer also helped by serving breakfast, lunch and snacks to the Humane Society volunteers at the two exercise sites. 

An ongoing partnership between the Red Cross and the Humane Society springs from a shared mission to shelter all members of affected households during disasters, including pets. 
Dogs were willing participants at the
HSPPR pet shelter exercise in
Colorado Springs
According to Red Cross volunteer and Mass Care Co-Lead, Peggy Schnurr, “One of the biggest challenges for the Red Cross is what to do with animals during a disaster…co-locating is difficult due to space and facility limitations.”  The partnership between the Humane Society and the Red Cross is critical because it helps find safe places for pets when they are unable to be with their owners in a shelter. An exercise like this helps the Red Cross anticipate needs and develop support mechanisms to make sure that those in need get the proper help.
Red Cross volunteers served lunch
to animal rescue volunteers during
the HSPPR Pet Shelter Exercise
in Colorado Springs

The Community Animal Response Team (CART) is the division of the HSPPR responsible for mass sheltering of animals.  CART coordinated the care of 1200 animals during last summer’s Black Forest Fire and the exercise today allowed CART to practice their mass sheltering procedures in anticipation of meeting animal needs when future disasters occur.
Gretchen Pressley (l) talks with Kathleen
Rowland at the HSPPR Pet Shelter Exercise
in Colorado Springs

In an effort to expand services for animals in the Pikes Peak Region, on December 31, 2013, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region purchased a property adjacent to the current shelter on Abbot Lane in Colorado Springs.  Jan McHugh-Smith, CEO of HSPPR, says the former retail greenhouse will be used as a future shelter for animals involved in disaster.  “We cared for 24,000 animals last year and maintain an average of 400 animals each day at the main facility.”  The new building will help provide additional space and animal friendly facilities when mass sheltering is necessary.

Are you prepared with a disaster plan for your pets?  As part of your household’s disaster preparedness plan, check out the Red Cross Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist at and go to the HSPPR website at for details on their Ready Pets program.


  1. wow amazing, you are just doing a right work. I just simply loving it,
    Find My Pet

  2. Pets are attention seeker if pet owners doesn't take full attention towards their healthy life span reduces and it's difficult to perform their activities in normal manner so i suggest all pet owners if their pets fill little ill or lazy to their normal activities they must concerned them to a vet for CPR to give them back a normal life after reading above story it motivates me to have CPR for my pets while i diagnose disease in my pets.