During the Camp Fire, it was brutally clear to NVADG volunteers that keeping track of animals using paper forms didn’t work in the new . The fires were bigger, evacuations longer and animals more copious. There are Emergency Tracking Networks for humans. We needed one for animals.
Program Developer Trevor Skaggs, a NVADG and Search and Rescue volunteer and programming pro, knew his experience with databases, Search and Rescue requests, Geographical Interfaces and animal evacuation and sheltering with NVADG could help. Trevor offered to help build a custom system, after NVADG had made two unsuccessful attempts using off-the-shelf electronic tracking systems.
Shelterly uses databases to compile and connect Owners, Animals, Shelters, Requests for Evacuation/Shelter in Place, and Dispatch Assignments.
“By connecting the information in the databases, we can keep track of every animal, whether the owner is dropping them off at our Shelter or we’re getting a phone call about an animal that needs to be evacuated or cared for in the field” reports Skaggs.
The original development investment in Shelterly was done by North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NVADG). Napa CART, IFAW and ASPCA have also contributed to its development.
NVADG and Napa CART have been finalizing the implementation of Shelterly for the 2023 Fire Season. They are training their Volunteers who are giving Shelterly rave reviews. “Once you go through it and see all its modules, it’s easy and intuitive to understand. It’s so much more productive” said Volunteer Kendall Anderson.
The plan is to make Shelterly available at zero or very low cost to recognized CARTs. Once implemented, Shelterly is to be managed by CalCARTs, a 501(c) 3 non-profit collective of California CARTs.