Vol. 3, No. 7, July 2007

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Florida Counties Are Organizing!

The latest county-level Florida SART affiliate to be formed will be known as the "Northeast Florida Counties Animal Resources Team?or NEFCART.

Northeast Florida is taking action to form a multi-agency coordinating group dedicated to animal and agricultural disaster preparation.

With the organizational assistance of Dana DeJarnatt (ESF-17 Liaison for FDACS-AI District 2), representatives from the counties of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns are collaborating to form NEFCART. This regional group has agreed to share resources to support agricultural and animal issues in the event of a disaster in northeast Florida. Members, many of whom are already committed to response assignments in event of a disaster, chose to call themselves a "resource team?since the group will function as a multi-agency coordination group, rather than an actual disaster response team.

NEFCART's organizational meeting was held July 9th at the Northeast Florida Red Cross Building in Jacksonville.Members elected a chair (Kelly Cuppoletti, St. Johns County Emergency Planning kcuppoletti@co.st-johns.fl.us), vice-chair (Paul Studivant, St. Johns County ESF-17), and recording secretary (Cynthia Croy, Jacksonville Animal Care & Control Center).

Additionally, members decided to appoint representatives to a "NEFCART Advisory Board," which will help focus the large group, manage their collective resource lists, and identify NEFCART priorities.

In addition to inviting our county Emergency Management Directors and concerned businesses and agencies in the region, NEFCART extends an invitation to all interested SART members in the northeast Florida area to attend the next general meeting, tentatively scheduled for 10:00 am August 13th at the St. Johns County EOC; the NEFCART Advisory Board will meet before the general meeting. The St. Johns County EOC is located at 4455 Avenue A, Suite 102, St. Augustine, FL 32095 (904) 824-5550 www.sjcemergencymanagement.org.

For additional information contact DeJarnatt at dejarnd@doacs.state.fl.us or Martha Wagaman at Martha_Wagaman@doh.state.fl.us.


Governor Designates July 31 "Animal Disaster Preparedness Day?

Florida Governor Charlie Crist has designated July 31st as Animal Disaster Preparedness Day 2007 and he asks all Floridians to take the following actions:
      1. properly identify the animals in their care,
      2. assemble a disaster kit for every animal and
      3. make evacuation plans for their families and all animals under their care.

The reasoning behind an "Animal Disaster Preparedness Day?is straightforward.

* Florida is extremely susceptible to hurricanes of disastrous proportions that often force residents to evacuate their homes. Further, there is a large population of retired people in Florida, 30 to 40 percent of whom own pets, and the elderly are often among the most severely impacted by disasters.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist

* About 52 percent of Florida households include animals and the bonds between these human and animal families are often so strong that nearly 1-in-4 animal caregivers refuse to evacuate without their pets. This jeopardizes public safety and hampers disaster relief efforts.

* Animals left behind during a disaster will suffer. They can become injured, ill and die.

According to the Office of the Governor, Florida is a national leader in planning for animal evacuation and sheltering during disasters, including the establishment of pet-friendly shelters in several counties and aggressive public education campaigns. Now, Floridians can continue to set a national example by including animals in family disaster planning.

July 31st is Animal Disaster Preparedness Day in Florida (Photo: Mississippi Animal Response Team)

In addition, according to Joe Kight, Florida ESF-17 Coordinator, and FDACS Hollie Harvey, Florida veterinarians, animal shelter workers, emergency management officials and law enforcement personnel are requested to recognize the important public safety and individual mental health benefits of incorporating animals into disaster plans.

The theme of Animal Disaster Preparedness Days nationwide in 2007 is "Don't Leave Home Without Them.?United Animal Nations and its subsidiary, the Emergency Animal Rescue Service, promote the Day. (www.uan.org)

The Emergency Animal Rescue Service of the United Animal Nations promoted Florida's Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.


Through the Grapevine
What we learned ?

"What we learned from the 2004 hurricanes was that when there is nothing at the local level [no active organization in place], it is much harder for us to come in and be supportive and build anything following a disaster. It is better if we are supporting something that is present already and we are simply augmenting their local system.

Laura Bevan
The Humane Society of the United States

Florida VETS Aid Bear Rescue

By now, everyone knows the story of the "Bugaboo Bears," so-called because a sow black bear and her first-year cub were rescued from the Bugaboo Fire that raged through 125,000 acres of Georgia and Florida during April and May. Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission veterinarian Mark Cunningham captured the bears and took them to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine for emergency care. The sow suffered third-degree burns to her pads and the cub was perilously dehydrated. Without rescue, both bears would almost certainly have perished.

According to Sarah Carey, UF College of Veterinary Medicine public information specialist, "everything went flawlessly. When the bears arrived at our Veterinary Medical Center, veterinarians with our zoological medicine service provided initial wound care to the adult bear and monitored both bears for signs of lung damage from smoke inhalation. Thankfully, there was no such damage and the bears' conditions improved even in the short time they were with us, about a week. At that time, they were taken to Disney World's Animal Kingdom, where they remained for another month or so receiving follow-up treatment.

The cub sits in the tallest pine tree in the area.

The sow (mother bear) watches from beneath the cub's tree as the FWC capture team arrives.

Elina Garrison, research biologist from the FWC's Gainesville lab, removes the tranquilizer dart from the sow.

FWC veterinarian Dr. Mark Cunningham examines the sow.

Rescue team carries sow to road for examination.

The sow bear's blistered paw.

The cub after her rescue from the tree.

Rescuers gather around the cub as Elina Garrison holds her.

Team from Florida VETS in Gainesville transports the bears.

Freedom! Bears are released back into national forest.
Top and middle row photos and captions by Karen Parker, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Bear loading photo by Sarah Carey. Bear running free photo by Tracy Wilcox, Gainesville Sun newspaper.

"When they were ready to return to the wild, John Haven and David John, both of whom work with the Florida VETS (Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service) program, picked the bears up at Disney and drove them back into the forest. They used the VETS/SART truck and trailer, complete with 12-kw diesel generator capable of providing air-conditioning en-route. Dr. Cunningham's rest-stop checks on mother bear and cub assured him ?and us ?that the two traveled comfortably."

The release in the Osceola National Forest - an "incredible experience," Carey said - was within the bears' original home range. "I'll never see anything like it again, I'm sure."

Jacksonville's ABC affiliate First Coast News (Channel 12) has posted this story at: http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/topstories/news-article.aspx?storyid=84654

Additionally the Gainesville Sun newspaper has a story on line. (Note that the UF Class of 1997 veterinarian at Disney's Animal Kingdom is Steve Terrell, not Scott Terrell.) http://gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=GS&Dato=20070619&Kategori=NEWS&Lopenr=619004&Ref=PH

Thanks also to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission's Karen Parker who has posted photos and captions on line at: http://myfwc.com/whatsnew/07/statewide/bearrescue-photos-1.html.


Third Annual Southeast Security Conference Is Scheduled

The third annual Southeast Homeland Security Conference is scheduled for the Peabody Hotel, Orlando, December 10-14. According to Rick Moore (rmore@co.volusia.fl.us), Planner II with the Volusia County Division of Emergency Management who has served as the conference's Educational Chair since its inception, the itinerary is being finalized and will soon be posted on-line at www.sehomelandsecurityconference.com/index.htm. (Watch for follow-up and site information in the August SART Sentinel.) Registration information is available from Diana Wright at dwright@nettally.com.

The Peabody Hotel

Joanne Brown,DVM

Deputy Florida Agriculture Commissioner Joanne Brown will be the general session speaker on Wednesday, December 12th. Brown is responsible for three FDACS divisions: Dairy, Agriculture Environmental Services and Food Safety, as well as the Office of Bio and Food Security Preparedness. A veterinarian, board certified in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, she spent 26 years in the US Army Veterinary Corps joining FDACS in February 1999 as Bureau Chief of the Food and Residue Laboratories.

Today, she oversees food safety, the regulation of pesticides and pest control companies; feed, seed and fertilizer production, inspection, and testing; issues related to Florida's dairy production, quality and distribution; and FDACS?role in domestic security issues.

The conference will focus on lessons learned, policy, management and finance. It will help first responders improve preparedness by presenting after-action reports on recent events and by introducing new approaches to prevention, preparedness, response, recovery and management. Conference planners intentionally avoid using "tracks?as they believe tracks leads to "stove-piping?in which people separate into disciplines thus distancing themselves from one another.

Plan to attend if you are involved in homeland security, disaster preparedness or major event planning. The conference has value for those in the private sector as well as those in government. Past attendees have come from health, medical and hospital sectors; law enforcement and fire service, emergency medical services. Individuals have been medical examiners, emergency management personnel and elected officials, and also represented information technology, utilities and the military.


Seven Florida Counties Primary Natural Disaster Areas
Farmers and Ranchers May Apply for USDA Assistance

The US Department of Agriculture has designated seven Florida counties primary natural disaster areas because of freezing temperatures February 17-19, 2007:

Palm Beach is designated a primary area and also eligible because they are contiguous are Broward, Hendry and Martin.

Designated natural disaster areas on May 29, qualified farm operators are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA considers each loan application on its own merits, considering the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information about eligibility and application procedures for these and other programs. Information is also available on line at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=diap&topic=landing.

A cold snap at the right time will increase the sugar content of citrus, but an ill-timed freeze will ruin a crop.


Through the Grapevine
About SART Team-Building

"Yes, we struggle a bit with the plant and aquaculture issues because they have a whole different agenda for emergencies. For instance, farmers may need weight restrictions on bridges and roads lifted temporarily so they can get crops out and away in a hurry.

"This would be something that pet people couldn't possibly come up with, but after exposure in the MAC setting they will have an awareness of farm, ranch and dairy issues.

"The biggest goal is to bring stakeholders together to discuss preparation and response issues.?

Greg Christy, DVM
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Infrastructure Partnership Division
Food & Agriculture Sector Specialist

Clay County Requests Volunteer Aids

According to an Email from SART member Martha Wagaman of the Duval County Health Dept. Emergency Preparedness Division (Martha_Wagaman@doh.state.fl.us), Clay County is in need of volunteers to assist with the building of ten 4x10 foot runs to house the pets of individuals living at Quigley House in Orange Park (www.quigleyhouse.org).

Quigley House is Clay County's domestic violence/abuse shelter. Some of the building supplies (chain link fence and 10 yards of concrete) have been donated from local businesses but the manpower to assemble the facility is desperately needed. Without the addition of these runs, pets belonging to victims seeking refuge at the shelter will have to be surrendered to the county animal control facility, which is unable to house the animals for more than three days. Please contact Annie Henderson, Animal Cruelty Investigator for Clay County, via email (AHenderdson@claysheriff.com) for more information or to volunteer!


Red Cross Completes Hurricane Zeus Exercise

Hurricane Zeus prepares to come ashore in north Florida during the Red Cross disaster preparedness and response exercise in May.

Although the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross was not involved with Hurricane Zeus, the chapter's mission statement exemplifies Red Cross ideals and standards: "The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.?www.redcrosstbc.org

To prepare for a significant weather event, the Capital Area Chapter of the Florida Red Cross recently organized and conducted an exercise called "Hurricane Zeus?in cooperation with eight north Florida and nine southwest Georgia counties. Zeus tested the ability of Red Cross Chapters and their partner organizations to initiate disaster response and recovery activities as a category two storm approaches and subsequently passes through North Florida and Southwest Georgia by:
  • conducting needs and damage assessments,
  • managing both general population and special needs shelters,
  • establishing and staffing distribution points,
  • managing logistical warehouse activities,
  • establishing and staffing Emergency Aid Stations and
  • sharing information using a variety of communications systems.

"This exercise truly put our volunteers and the paid staff of partner organizations through their paces,?says Chris Floyd, director of the Capital Area Chapter,?but it was all in an effort to prepare for the 2007 Hurricane Season.?br>
And so ?how did they do? "Florida's Red Cross chapters are, by and large, very strong and will need relatively little pre-landfall assistance,?says Wayne Brennessel, Director of Disaster Relief Operations, American Red Cross. "For long term support, however, we are always prepared to bring in a lot more resources.?br>
Brennessel stressed that Chris Floyd and many others worked very hard to develop a credible exercise. "The exercise was a very valuable experience,?Brennessel stressed, "and it has helped us all better understand and appreciate chapter capacity and where human and material resources will be needed to support pre- and post-landfall relief efforts.

"I also appreciate the time everyone devoted to the exercise, especially knowing how full people's plates are this time of year. We certainly wish for a quiet Hurricane Season, but knowing the level of preparedness throughout the State of Florida will help us all anticipate and prepare for the inevitable.?br>
To follow the Zeus time-line and study some of the on-line materials, go to http://redcross.tallytown.com/zeus/.


Through the Grapevine
The ant and the grasshopper or Why we need SART

"Think of the guy with the hole in his roof who looks up and, seeing sunshine, says, 'I don't need to get around to fixing that today.?Then when it starts raining, he runs around to the garage to get his tools and saws and boards out to fix the hole, but his roof is already leaking. I believe that it is better to have an organization like SART and never need it, never need to activate it, than to need it and not have it. And doing it later may just be too late. We're trying to change people's mindset from simply recovery from a disaster to planning and preparing, because if you have prepared and organized then, when the time comes, response and recovery will be faster and smoother.?

Tim Manning
Florida Dispute Resolution Coordinator, Farm Service Agency, USDA

Exotic Update: Citrus Psyllid

Bugs. They aren't very sexy to talk or think about even if they are ?from a scientific perspective, at least ?intricate and amazing works of art.

The invasive, exotic citrus psyllid ?a tiny "bug?half the size of your smallest fingernail ?threatens to destroy the productiveness of Florida's citrus industry because it carries a disease called citrus greening. Photo David Caldwell, IFAS/UF

It is much more fun to scare ourselves about pythons in the Everglades and monitor lizards in Lake Apopka or even our semi-annual plague of "love bugs.?Nevertheless, exotic insects pose a much greater threat to our animal and agricultural infrastructure in Florida than do all the introduced reptilians ?unless the Creature from the Black Lagoon makes a comeback.

"Annually, insect pests cause an estimated $1 billion in damages in Florida, and many of the worst pests are non-indigenous. According to entomologist Dr. John Capinera, 12-18 invading species become established in Florida annually. These non-natives arrive by flying, walking, swimming, rafting and by stowing away on cargo (often on infested plants commercially imported). Management of exotic pests includes slowing their influx by tightening inspection at the borders and finding other environmentally benign means of control.?http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/CR008

First detected in June 1998 the citrus psyllid for example (either the Asian or the African variety) has now spread

throughout Florida. Injury caused by these tiny bugs results from the withdrawal of large quantities of sap from the foliage, and transmission of the organisms that cause Citrus Greening disease. This psyllid has already had dramatic impacts in other countries. The once flourishing citrus industry in India is slowly being wiped out by dieback. This dieback has multiple causes but is primarily due to greening disease. What is now generally accepted as greening disease has been called citrus chlorosis in Java, leaf-mottling and leaf-mottle yellows in the Philippines, likubin (rapid decline) in Taiwan, and huang long bing (yellow dragon disease) in China.

To learn more about citrus psyllid and its potential impact on Florida's citrus industry, please check the SART Training Module "Three Exotic Plant Diseases Threatening Florida.?www.flsart.org/library/index.htm#PD6


Planning Maps Are Available

A recent Email from Chris Floyd, Chief Operations Officer for the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross notes that county planning maps in PDF format for hurricane evacuation and storm surge are now available on line.
  • Hurricane Evacuation: http://redcross.tallytown.com/map/evacuation.html
  • County Storm Surge Maps http://redcross.tallytown.com/map/surge.html


Pet Happy Hour on NC Outer Banks

Quin Capps does PR for North Carolina's Outer Banks. He sent this Email about a pet shop named the "Outer Barks,?which specializes in dogs. I've edited it for length, but it seems like an amusing way to end this mid-summer Heat Stroke issue of the SART Sentinel. Stay cool ?


Duck, NC (July 12, 2007) It's 5:00 somewhere! Not just for humans, but for canines, as well. A long running dog event on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, YAPPY HOUR at the Outer Barks in Duck, provides a weekly opportunity for canines and their human escorts to enjoy each other's company, make new friends, and partake of Doggie Daiquiris, Muttguaritas and homemade Arf D'Oeuvres.

Every week, from March to Thanksgiving, the Outer Barks hosts Yappy Hour. Co-owner Kevin Carey says, "Yappy Hour provides humans and their canine fur-kids the opportunity to mingle, enjoy some treats and celebrate the human/canine bond.?

The gathering includes agility equipment, beach music, a baby pool with float toys and an art studio where dogs can create a paw painting to take home as a memento. The buffet offers treats such as turkey frittata, a ginger applesauce bone cake, blueberry muffins and Italian meatballs. These goodies are washed down with a Doggie Daiquiri or Muttguarita.

Yappy Hour is open to all canines and their humans. The Outer Barks posts its Yappy Hour schedule and there is no cost to attend. A donation box is available for one of the many good causes supported by the Outer Barks. Dogs must be leashed and no dogs are permitted to drive afterwards! www.outerbarks.com.

Dogs and owners visiting North Carolina's Outer Banks make friends during the Yappy Hour Cocktail Hour at Outer Barks in Duck. Photo courtesy Outer Barks


About the SART Sentinel

Editor: Rick Sapp, PhD, Technical Writer, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry [rsa5@cox.net]

Associate Editor: Joe Kight, State ESF-17 Coordinator, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry [kightj@doacs.state.fl.us]

The SART SENTINEL is an E-mail newsletter prepared monthly by Rick Sapp and the members of the Florida State Agricultural Response Team. Past issues of the Sentinel are archived on the Florida SART Web Site, www.flsart.org.

If you have a story or photo that you would like to have considered for publication in The SART SENTINEL, please contact the Editors.