The Group is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, sexuality or gender identity, status as a veteran, or disability or on any other federal, state or local protected class.

The Animal Wellness Group are registered charities, composed of Animal Wellness Action (AWA), Animal Wellness Action Political Action Committee and the Center for a Humane Economy (CHE). The Group is committed to preventing cruelty to all animals, by promoting good public policies, enforcing those policies, and conducting campaigns at the legislative, corporate, and consumer levels.

California Disaster Responder

California, the nation’s largest state, is uniquely prone to natural disasters. It has frequent and life-threatening forest fires, droughts, floods, and mudslides. With major fault lines throughout the state, it has experienced serious temblors, but seismologists predict a higher-magnitude earthquake in the coming years. It has the potential for tsunamis with its 840-mile coastline. It also is a high-priority target for terrorists, given the state’s visibility, major metropolitan centers, and central role in the national economy. The threat of a pandemic seems now a much more realistic threat than it was in prior years. The COVID-19 crisis disrupted California’s economy the behavior of citizens in dramatic ways, with many municipal and county shelters ceasing normal operations; some shut down work entirely, while others conducted animal care for the animals in house and saw people with animals in need by appointment only.

The animal protection movement has had limited capacity when it comes to disaster response, having ramped up that capacity during and after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Only a few groups have in-the-field some disaster response capacity, and much of their personnel and equipment are deployed in the East and Midwest for responses on that side of the continent.

With its range of natural disaster and other threats, California has an acute need for an enhanced disaster response capacity and preparedness. The state, during the COVID-19 crisis, has deemed government animal care and control facilities and private shelters as essential, yet many of them shut down or scaled back their work because of fear for personnel, as mentioned above. It is imperative on a go-forward basis that any government directives include provisions for the care of animals and that animal care be treated as an “essential” service, ensuring that they may continue to function (even in a limited capacity) in their animal health, public safety, and humane roles. What’s more, these institutions need to have plans to maintain some level of staffing for their operations. The National Animal Care and Control Association has issued guidance regarding animal control functions during the pandemic. In a general sense, the NGO community is woefully ill-prepared for a major event like a contagion or an earthquake, as evidenced by the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The California Disaster Response Coordinator would work under the banner of the Animal Wellness Foundation, based in Marina Del Rey.  The individual selected would report primarily to the Director of State Affairs, but have a strong tie in with the veterinary team at the Animal Wellness Centers animal hospital in Los Angeles and also work closely with the California-based members of the Global Council for Animals.

This individual would work with state, county, and local authorities on disaster planning and preparedness and also organize NGO capacity to prepare for a wide range of scenarios to help with companion animals, horses, and wildlife. To the extent practicable, it would be valuable to discuss disaster response for farm animals. This would be a California position to serve the state, government, and other organizations. The presence of this position would bind together the animal protection movement in the state in its many forms.

Here are core responsibilities for the Coordinator:

  • Document animal facilities and see that each one has evacuation or shelter-in-place plans.
  • Organize a network of veterinary assets that would be available to treat animals with emergency or other vital health needs.
  • Develop a list of front-line disaster responders in the case of a localized emergency, to supplement the state’s capacity to conduct rescue and emergency sheltering. This would include a capacity for natural or human-caused disasters (such as puppy mills, animal fighting cases, hoarding operations, etc.).
  • Cache pet food, hay, and other food for animals in a disaster situation, or have the means to get food in short order. Make provisions for sourcing water as well.
  • Identify staging sites and emergency sheltering sites in the state.
  • Identify equipment needs for disaster response, tapping existing assets for vehicles and water resources as needed or work to acquire and store them in a strategic place for deployment.
  • Understand state and county disaster response laws, especially relating to animals, and examine gaps in state law to enhance cooperation and adequate deployment of resources for animals during a time of crisis.
  • Conduct Incident Command training operations and other preparedness activities with appropriate authorities as a matter of readiness in the event of a disaster.
  • Build and help oversee a statewide task force that is kept up to date on plans and constitutes a network that can assist when a major event occurs.
  • Develop a newsletter that reports on planning, preparedness, and needs and instills an ethic of disaster preparedness in the humane community in California

College degree preferred, disaster response experience, project management experience required.  Proficiency in PowerPoint, Excel, and data management. Strong writing, public speaking, and organizing skills.  Spanish preferred. Self-motivated individual who would work from home office.  Coordinator would have to work with a diverse range of stakeholders, taking an inclusive approach to the work.

SALARY: To be determined

WORKPLACE: Home workplace preferred.

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