Donation to Help House Pets in a Disaster

In a first for the state of California, the American Kennel Club (AKC) donated three disaster supply trailers for pets to County Animal Services during a presentation Saturday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Each trailer contains enough supplies to house 65 pets so residents evacuated during wildfires or other disasters can keep their pets close by at shelters.

“During the May 2014 fires, we were desperate for crates and started buying them from local pet stores to house pets at the various human shelters,” said County Animal Services Deputy Director Dan DeSousa. “These trailers will make all the difference for pets and their owners because they will be allowed to stay near each other under one roof during the trying times of a disaster.”

Each disaster supply trailer comes equipped with 65 crates, fans, lighting and generators, bowls, collars, leashes, kitty litter, cleaning supplies, microchips and a microchip scanner. The supplies allow volunteers to set up a small animal shelter inside an evacuation center to house pets until the danger has passed and then easily dismantle it.

“Safe, effective pet shelter solutions in times of disaster are incredibly important and AKC Reunite is helping communities across the nation prepare by mobilizing AKC Disaster Relief,” said AKC Reunite CEO Tom Sharp.  

AKC Reunite is the disaster branch of the American Kennel Club. County Animal Services is the only organization in the country to get three AKC disaster supply trailers.

Six AKC dog clubs in San Diego raised more than $65,000 to buy the 12-foot-long trailers. During a disaster, Animal Services will haul them out to evacuation centers and dog club volunteers will take over pet shelter operations so Animal Control Officers can return to the field and rescue animals at risk.

“With three trailers, the intent is that each of our department’s three shelters will have a trailer ready to respond at a moment’s notice to a call for assistance,” said DeSousa. “While we hope we never need to use the trailers, history has proven that we will and we graciously appreciate the help of the six dog clubs and the AKC in helping to protect the lives of animals in San Diego County.”

The trailers will be on display at the Del Mar Fairgrounds all weekend as part of the Silver Bay Kennel Club’s free annual all-breed dog shows. County Animal Services staff will also be on hand to tell attendees about the usefulness of these trailers and to give out information on Disaster Preparedness for Household Pets.


Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact