Emergency Relief Team for Pets Launches in Philly

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 13 | Posted Aug. 31, 2011

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So CART can assist in rare and severe circumstances, but not in situations that endanger pets’ lives in Philly nearly every single week. (This past weekend, under threat of Hurricane Irene, was the first time OEM activated Philly CART.)

Portia Scott Palko, owner of Central Bark, former CART volunteer and outspoken local animal activist who was key in assisting Leary establish Red Paw, was surprised to find out that the organization she was volunteering for wasn’t designed to do what she thought it was designed to do.

“Windermere really opened my eyes,” Scott Palko says.

Fed up with the “politics” of CART, Scott Palko was happy to “switch energies” toward helping Leary get Red Paw’s list of cooperative organizations together, which includes PAWS, Society Hill Vet Hospital and City Kitties, among other organizations as well as individual foster parents. “I really can’t say enough about Jen’s drive and her refusal to take no for an answer,” says Scott Palko. “She saw this need and fought for it.”

For Leary, battling bureaucracy is nothing compared to watching pets and their owners suffer. During her work with the Fire Department and Red Cross, Leary’s seen it all: There was the time she rushed fire survivors to the vet in her own car as they administered oxygen to their dogs in her backseat—and the dogs died. She’s had to call medics for people suffering near-anxiety attacks after failing to save their pet before escaping a burning building. She’s seen owners tie dogs to trees and leave them in backyards for lack of anywhere for them to go while they get on their feet.

Though putting the puppies up for adoption is upsetting for the Joneses, it’s not nearly as traumatic as other possibilities. Back in June, a dog named Lizzy was euthanized when her owner went to jail after a fire. The same thing happened to cats that survived a fire out on Haverford Avenue the same month. These are the stories that lead animal activists to call Philly a disgrace.

Red Paw’s filling in a huge gap in disaster management. With Red Paw on the scene, hopefully these stories will become exceptions. Not only were the Jones’ dogs’ lives saved, but they were also spayed and neutered while in their care.

Meanwhile, as their search for a new house stretches into the fifth week, the Joneses are staying with a friend. They took the four adult dogs back. “They’re doing fine,” says Eva. “They’re healthy and having fun. They’re just happy that they’re back with us. They’re just happy to see me.” The two puppies, A.J. and Taz, stayed behind at Central Bark, where staff is putting in extra hours taking care of them as they await adoption.

“This is definitely a pilot program for Philadelphia,” says Leary. “But we’re trying to expand it soon. I’ve already had people in New Jersey ask for us to do it there. This could have national effect.”

Red Paw is seeking volunteers to help out with fostering animals. Email redpawemergencyrelief@gmail.com for more information.

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Comments 1 - 13 of 13
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1. Anonymous said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 09:04AM

“This is an amazing organization!

How can we donate?”

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2. Anonymous said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 09:20AM

“RED PAW is RAISING MONEY to ACQUIRE 501 (C) 3 status.
The recognition of RED PAW as 501c3 tax exempt organization by the IRS offers numerous advantages. The primary benefits of 501c3 status include: tax deductions for all donors, private and public grant money eligibility, lower postage rates for 501c3 tax exempt organizations, and increased credibility among the public.
Please donate now at the following link: http://redpawemergencyreliefteamstartup.chipin.com/the-red-paw-emergency-relief-start-up-fund

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3. Garrett said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 09:40AM

“Congratulations on your successful launch! Thanks for everything you do Jen, Portia and Red Paw!”

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4. Anonymous said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 09:41AM

“Nice article on a great, much-needed organization! Great job, Jen and your team of volunteers!”

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5. CK said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 09:57AM

“Jen has done amazing work, both with Red Paw and CART. The need is HUGE, as demonstrated by all of the work she and other volunteers have done in just the first month. As a City Kitties volunteer and a resident of West Philly who was horrified by the lack of city response following the Windermere fire, I am thrilled to see someone so knowledgeable, energetic, and compassionate finding a real solution to this problem!”

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6. Mamabear1210 said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 03:16PM

“Great article and to the point....”

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7. PSP said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 04:32PM

“Jen is a powerhouse of inspiration and putting words to action. Volunteer! There are calls almost every day for fostering and transporting companion animals while the owners are faced with personal disaster.”

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8. Anonymous said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 04:56PM

“The thing to take away from all of this is that there IS a need for BOTH Red Paw and CART in this city. I applaude Samantha Phillips, OEM, and the Mayor for deploying CART this past weekend.”

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9. Red Paw said... on Aug 31, 2011 at 06:08PM

“Don't forget to follow us on Facebook under Red Paw Emergency Relief Team”

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10. Kate said... on Sep 1, 2011 at 09:47AM

“Hello, I have cross posted this article on FB and my husband will be adding the donation widget to his blog. I am having some technical difficulty with the ChipIn application. It doesn't seem to want to take a card I use all the time. Could be on my end, but just make sure everything is in working order so you don't miss out on donations! I will keep trying.
Good luck!”

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11. Anonymous said... on Sep 2, 2011 at 04:23AM

“people, smell my farts”

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12. Animal lover said... on Sep 3, 2011 at 03:17PM

“It amazes me how the city can find
$905,000 to Ackerman for absolutely nothing &
polititians can always be the hero to make
sure we have that tax yielding parade BUT
i have never seen anything for innocent animals
that can not do for themselves. They will build
1,000 prisons but not a cent for animals.
So thank you & God bless those who do

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13. carolynharrel said... on Apr 3, 2012 at 08:57AM

“Wonderful job you guys are doing. Keep it up”


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