UF VETS receive trailer to aid in disaster relief

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- Just in time for this year's hurricane season, the University of Florida Veterinary Treatment Service, also known as UF VETS, has a new addition to their team.

UF VETS now have a 44-foot truck and trailer which will allow veterinarians to perform longer-term-service when they are deployed to disasters.

"Just having that little piece of positive in the midst of chaos, we saw so many people that were so touched just to have us there." said Dr. Lawrence Garcia, clinical assistant professor in shelter medicine.
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The trailer was funded by a $150,000 grant from the Banfield Foundation and PetSmart Charities.

"I would say as a disaster responder, it's a pretty amazing feeling to have that impact and really see how you touch the lives of those impacted by these storms," Garcia said.

Garcia remembers helping pet owners and their animals during Hurricane Irma and said the new vehicle is a great tool to house veterinarians and help animals during disasters.

"We are mostly sustaining but the one piece that was missing was a place for us to stay," Garcia said.

He said the trailer has outlets, a bathroom, and foldable beds for veterinarians to make more room to do examinations on animals.

"If need be, we could actually use this to haul some of our equipment and get it to the site," Garcia said. "We have tents we can set up for storage and still use this as a bunk trailer. so it really offers a great opportunity for us to be pretty self-sufficient."

UF VETS is a member of the Florida State Agricultural Response Team and the new trailer will be used in conjunction with team responses on deployment.