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article imageAnimal Help Now program launches today in Texas

By Elizabeth Batt     Mar 15, 2013 in Environment
Austin - A successful program that links animals in need to a database of help, is expanding to Texas. Animal Help Now is a unique venture designed to help any animal found to be facing an emergency situation.
Since it was first formed in 2009 by a group of experienced animal and environmental advocates, the program that once served just Colorado, will now expand its online database to Texas beginning March 15.
How it works
The idea behind Animal Help Now is to provide the general public with emergency contacts in a crisis situation. It is for anyone who encounters an animal in need and can be used by pet guardians to find a nearby vet -- especially useful when travelling. The program can also be used by animal shelters, animal rehabilitation persons or facilities, and even vets, to find help for a person who calls from outside the area.
A project of Animal Watch, a nonprofit 501-C-3 organization, Animal Help Now says it "Addresses a need that exists throughout the United States and indeed the world."
From lost and found companion animals, to injured wildlife, any person with an immediate animal concern can gain virtual access to a network of assistance through mobile phone apps or a computer. The program also provides an avenue to report alleged cases of animal abuse or even access emergency contacts in an environmental crisis such a wildfire resulting in evacuation.
Once accessed, the program immediately tracks a person's location either through the phone's GPS, or via the computer's IP address. A few pertinent questions later, the user is directed to the most appropriate helpers for the situation being faced.
All access, all the time
Animal Help Now is available day or night, 24/7. "It is the first reliable service a person can use to find immediate and appropriate assistance for the full range of animal-related emergencies," the group said.
Last August, the group was really put to the test after a climbing couple discovered a German Shepherd dog abandoned on a 14,000-foot ridge between Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans in Colorado. Animal Help Now recruited experienced climber Chris O’Riley, who along with seven other people, undertook a daring rescue to bring the dog down safely.
From Colorado to Texas
The group will now expand its vital database to the state of Texas starting today, with a soft launch at the Texas Unites conference this weekend. Held March 16-18, 2013, at the Renaissance Austin Hotel, the conference features a series of workshops hosted by the Texas Federation of Humane Societies (TFHS) and the Texas Animal Shelter Coalition (TASC).
Last year alone, volunteers contributed 2,500 vol hours of time to the program, both to people with animals in need and the devlopment of the app programming.
It is hoped that Animal Help Now will eventually go nationwide, but users in Colorado and shortly, Texas, can get the free iPhone app at iTunes, or the free Android app from Google. Access to help is also available via the website at ahnow.org.
For further information on the program, visit Animal Help Now on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
More about animal watch, Animal welfare, emergency pet care, animal help now
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