September 17, 2008
Generators wanted, Texas veterinary officials say
More than 1,000 DVMs in devastated counties, TVMA reports
By: Jennifer Fiala
For The VIN News Service
Austin — More than 1,000 veterinarians reside in the worst impacted counties of Texas following Hurricane Ike’s wrath on the state.
To help DVMs get back on their feet, the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation seeks donations to purchase generators and gasoline for those in areas with no electricity. While the Web site is not sophisticated enough to take online contributions, forms can be downloaded at http://www.tvma.org/Media_Room/Ike_disaster_relief_08.phtml and faxed to (512) 452-6633, or mailed to the foundation’s offices at 8104 Exchange Drive, Austin, Texas 78754. Donations also can be phoned in to (512) 452-4224.
In the meantime, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) is trying to gather information on the condition of its veterinarian members. According to executive director Elbert Hutchins, state and federal relief efforts remain at an assessment stage.
“There are some areas where it’s almost impossible to get into,” he says. “We still have a lot of standing water and debris fields that are 25 to 30 feet tall. It’s just very difficult to get in there.”
Stranded pets are not a huge issue because due to Hurricane Katrina, state and federal laws now require owners to evacuate with their animals.
“Over a million people left pre-Ike, and many had pets with them,” Hutchins says. “A number of shelters have been set up at a distance from the storm’s epicenter. The system has worked pretty well from what I’ve seen from here.”
Hutchins also confirms that TVMA’s Austin-based offices were looted as the storm struck last weekend.
Thieves apparently broke a window and stole about 30 percent of the association’s computer capacity, yet they missed permission-sensitive information on workstation servers, Hutchins says.
VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email email@example.com.