WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 17, 2011, 03:54 PM

Japan Earthquake: Local non-profit helping to head-up relief effort for animals injured or left homeless

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) – It is hard to believe this one. In a quaint downtown Fargo office building, a local non-profit is helping head up the relief and aid effort for animals injured and left homeless after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

The organization called World Vets has it's world headquarters right here in Fargo and it is in full gear right now, deploying volunteers from around the globe to Japan.

They are quickly getting the disaster responder kits ready. Medicine, surgical supplies, anything volunteer veterinarians might need before heading off to Japan, where pets have been injured or left behind in the disaster.

DR. CATHY KING - World Vets-Fargo: “The requests we are getting are initially, cages, dog and cat food. Some of that is running in short supply. The rescue of animals in disaster zone will be slow because access is limited, for good reason.”

World Vets is located near downtown Fargo. Its global headquarters is here. Besides long term projects around the world, World Vets also responds to natural disasters like Haiti and Katrina.

Dr. Cathy: “Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Ecuador and another team in Nicaragua. And that is going to be an issue, these animals will have radiation exposure on the outside of them, even if we have people who are in a safe area, they will have animals exposed to radiation. They will need to be careful.”

Cathy King spent years as a veterinarian, then started this World Vets program on a shoe string: Donations in a jar. Now, she works with her network of 35-hundred volunteers from around the world who will step in and respond to disasters like the one in Japan.

Dr. Cathy: “This is what they take out in the field, basically a comprehensive animal first aid kid, for anything they might encounter that would be an emergency situation.”

World Vets has already deployed some volunteers to the Japan crisis. Pallets of medicine and dog food are on their way. It is all in an effort to rescue and repair all those pets and animals shaken by the disaster.