The Iowa City Animal Center has formed a volunteer team that will be trained to respond to emergencies in the community involving animals. Incidents range from natural disasters like flooding and tornadoes to animal hoarding and crashes involving livestock on the interstate.

The team is called the Iowa City Animal Services Animal Response Team, and it is the first official community animal response team to exist in Johnson County. The group is led by Animal Center Supervisor Liz Ford and volunteer Sara Bright who are both assessing for likely emergencies and are training volunteers to respond.

Members will be deployed only during an animal emergency and under the direction of Ford. Volunteers will wear a uniform and perform tasks outlined by the team’s incident commander.

To become a member of the response team, people must first become an active and trained volunteer through the Animal Care and Adoption Center. Those interested must be at least 18 years old and complete additional online and in-person training.

Iowa City Animal Services and Johnson County Emergency Management have teamed up to host an all-day disaster preparedness workshop on Saturday, April 8, 2017. The workshop will be presented by ASPCA, a national disaster response organization. Response team members are encouraged to attend the workshop. It is also open to other animal welfare groups, as well as the public. Space for the workshop is limited and preregistration is required by March 27. To register, email

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Animal Response Team can contact Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Bragg at or 319-356-5295, extension 7. 

Date of publication

Monday, March 20, 2017