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Northeast home to new Red Star emergency vehicle

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One year ago, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc and devastation along the East Coast, with the New York/New Jersey coasts among the areas hardest hit. Now, the Northeast can breathe a little easier thanks to a humanitarian effort from some very giving organizations and people.

The American Humane Association, the country's first national humanitarian organization, unveiled a giant 50-foot-long emergency rescue vehicle designed to provide help and hope to the Northeastern U.S. in times of disasters. Made possible through the generous support of philanthropist Lois Pope, Banfield Pet Hospital, Zoetis, and other major donors, the truck is the latest addition to American Humane Association's historic Red Starâ„¢ emergency services program, which 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 now Superstorm Sandy.

This major investment in the safety of those living in the Northeast was announced in a special ceremony during the New York Stock Exchange closing bell on December 27, by American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert, top executives from Banfield Pet Hospital and Zoetis, and more than 40 of the nation's top philanthropists and corporate and foundation executives.

"This new rescue vehicle is a major investment in the families, children and animals of the Northeast," said Dr. Ganzert. "The newest member of our Red Star rescue fleet is specifically designed and outfitted to provide a wide array of emergency services and will be staffed by four certified and specially trained responders, carrying supplies and equipment to shelter up to 100 animals, and bringing animal-assisted therapy to children and families. The vehicle will be dedicated to the region so it may respond to emergencies quickly in the entire Northeast area. This strengthening of our nation's emergency operations is a gift to all those who live here, and we thank Lois Pope, Banfield Pet Hospital, Zoetis, and the other major donors in this effort who care about the most vulnerable in times of need."

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, American Humane Association delivered tens of thousands of pounds of emergency food, medicines and supplies to help animals and provided shelter services, which can save human lives since many families will not leave a disaster zone without their beloved companion animals, exposing everyone to danger. 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. Earlier this year, American Humane Association's animal-assisted therapy team worked to help bring calm and healing to the people of Boston following the marathon terror bombings there.

"The Northeast is the most populous area in the country," says philanthropist and American Humane Association Board Member Lois Pope, who provided the lead funding for the new emergency vehicle. He has financed other major additions to the fleet in other 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. By investing in this new emergency vehicle, we may help keep more families safer during the next disaster."

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