Lois Pope Charity Blog

Animal Emergency Services at the American Humane Association

Since the launch of its first animal relief program in August 1916, the American Humane Association (AHA) has assisted in responding to disasters both domestically and internationally in order to protect pets and work animals. With a fleet of Red Star Rescue Vehicles, as well as the 82-foot Rescue Rig, fortified by over 100 volunteers ready for deployment, the Animal Emergency Services team can respond to everything from large animal cruelty busts to major natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. The Animal Emergency Services initiative grew out of the American Red Star Animal Relief Program, a project with roots in the first major conflict of the 20th century, World War I.

Shortly after conflict first broke out in Europe, several countries signed a treaty in Geneva, known as the International Red Star Alliance, in order to help promote a coalition between warring nations to help care for wounded animals. In subsequent years, both the Swiss minister and the U.S. Secretary of War made official calls to AHA to provide emergency services for animals engaged in the war effort, igniting the formation of American Red Star Animal Relief. Possessing 125 branches throughout the United States, the organization oversaw the funding of ambulances and relief programs for U.S. Army horses. Following the war, the Red Star invested its talents back home. The program continues its important work as Animal Emergency Services.

In recent years, Red Star responders have been first on the scene whenever animals are in danger. Following major tornados in Joplin, Missouri, and Moore, Oklahoma, Animal Emergency Service brought in its Rescue Rig, a mobile command center, in order to help reunite families with their pets and assist in efforts to provide emergency veterinary relief. The program also works alongside law enforcement officials to respond to major animal cruelty arrests. The recent bust of a multi-state dog fighting ring included an Animal Emergency team response to take in the abused animals to provide care and therapy.