SOURCE: PetSmart Charities

May 22, 2007 06:00 ET

PetSmart Charities Seeks Florida Volunteers for Its Emergency Relief Waggin' Program

Volunteers to Learn Emergency Relief Skills for Pet Rescue Operations

PHOENIX, AZ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 22, 2007 --


WHAT: On the heels of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, PetSmart Charities will kick off a three-day training exercise for its Emergency Relief Waggin' program in St. Petersburg to better serve pet victims in disasters. More qualified Florida volunteers are needed. Interested parties must have prior training in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and be available to deploy for a one- to three-day period with short notice.

They will be trained to unload items from the Waggin', learn how to operate a manual pallet jack, set up large tents, hook up and run a generator, and coordinate supplies to support a rescue shelter facility.

In March, PetSmart Charities launched its PetSmart Charities Emergency Relief Waggin' program. It consists of six pre-loaded semi-trailers that are stationed at PetSmart distribution centers throughout the U.S. Each pre-loaded trailer carries crates, bowls, leashes, collars, litter, food, tents, fans, a generator and various other emergency responder items. When called to duty, each Waggin' will deliver its supplies as soon as transport logistics can be completed to the designated lead animal welfare agency responding to the disaster. The program can be activated at a moment's notice for natural or man-made disasters, hoarding or cruelty cases affecting 350 pets or more.

The training session follows the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's declaration of May 20-26 as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Florida's history of ruinous storms and the recent fires that afflicted central Florida provide ample evidence of why this program is so vital to some of the most helpless victims -- the pets.

HOW: To apply to become a volunteer for the program e-mail Laurel Ley of Healing HEART Sanctuary at LaurelLey@AnimalReliefResource.org

WHEN: Wed., May 30, from 7:30-11:30 a.m.; Fri., June 1, 2-4 p.m.; and Sat., 8 a.m. to noon.

WHERE: Tradewinds Hotel, 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL, 33706; (727) 367-6461.

WHO: Designated volunteers for the PetSmart Charities Emergency Relief Waggin' program will learn how to load/unload the semi-trailer and set up emergency relief operations. The Emergency Relief Waggin' program volunteers and supplies will be managed by the nonprofit organization Healing HEART Sanctuary.

About PetSmart Charities, Inc.

PetSmart Charities, Inc. (PCI) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues, and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. Since 1994, PCI has donated more than $52 million to animal welfare agencies and, through its in-store adoption programs, has helped save the lives of more than 2.9 million pets. To learn more about how PCI is working to help find a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit www.petsmartcharities.org or call 1-800-423-PETS.

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