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Past President of Klamath Dog Fanciers, Chris Jones (left) and Sheriff Chris Kaber stand with Jones's dog, Elvis, in front of the new Pet Disaster Relief trailer. 

After three years of planning and effort, a major goal for both the Klamath Dog Fanciers and the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office has been realized through the acquisition of an animal rescue trailer that will help house and care for pets during disasters.

“These trailers are all over the U.S. and we’re lucky to have one right here in eastern Oregon,” Dog Fanciers past president Chris Jones noted Thursday during a media event to present the trailer. The special trailer was recently delivered to Klamath Falls from North Carolina.

The Klamath Dog Fanciers donated $19,500 to fund a grant through the American Kennel Club’s Pet Disaster Relief program. With approval from the Klamath County Board of Commissioners, the sheriff’s office applied for the grant and obtained the animal rescue trailer as a result.

The Dog Fanciers were able to fund the grant thanks to monies raised through their special events, which attract attendees from outside the county and state. Obedience and agility trials along with all-breed dog shows are a boon to the local economy, Jones said.

The Dog Fanciers’ partnership with the sheriff’s office is well established; the club also donated funds to help the sheriff’s office purchase its first K9 officer, Chief.

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber called his department’s relationship with the Dog Fanciers “amazing,” and said Thursday that the club’s major role in getting the trailer to Klamath Falls has meant “a great step forward for protecting citizens and their pets.”

The trailer can be used during any kind of disaster when pets are displaced, Jones said. It comes fully stocked with the materials necessary to care for at least 50 animals — individual kennels, a generator, safety vests, tracking chips, food, water, cat litter, sanitation equipment and more.

There are other possibilities for the trailer when it isn’t needed in Klamath Falls, Kaber said, including lending it free of charge to outside areas that are affected by disaster.

If the trailer is used in an event that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deems an emergency, the trailer’s supplies will be restocked at no additional cost to the county.

The trailer will also be employed in some non-disaster situations locally, Kaber explained, including as a static display at events so that citizens are aware of its existence and benefits.

Kaber said the next step is to organize trainings with the trailer so that sheriff’s office employees, Community Emergency Response Team volunteers and other responders will be prepared to utilize it if a disaster does occur locally.

Due to the value of the trailer and the materials it stores, it will be kept in a secure location when not in use. “Hopefully we’ll never have to use it,” Kaber remarked.