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U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20472

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FOR: National Urban Search & Rescue Response System
Task Force Representatives

FROM: Fred Endrikart, Chief
Urban Search and Rescue Branch

SUBJECT: US&R Program Directive 2011-023 – Pre-Mission Veterinary Exam

DATE: December 21, 2011

Without standardized pre-mission veterinary exams, National US&R Response System Task Forces could unknowingly deploy with injured, sick, and/or infectious canines that may affect the health and safety of Task Force members and/or other Task Force canines.

The National US&R Response System Operations Group held their 2011 annual meeting October 25-27, 2011 in Denver, CO. During the meeting the Canine Sub-Group Chair presented Recommendation 10-02 – Pre-Mission Veterinary Exam. Prior to the meeting a 21-day review of this recommendation was sent to the 28 Task Forces within the National US&R Response System for comments.

REQUIRED ACTIONS

National US&R Response System US&R Task Force canines selected for deployment shall be examined by a licensed veterinarian no more than 10 days prior to deployment.

Attachment A provides Task Forces the requirements elements for a standardized, hands-on, pre-mission exam. Any other pre-mission exam will be considered acceptable if conducted by a licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) no more than 10 days prior to a deployment and includes documentation which attests that the canine appears free of infectious disease or physical abnormality that would endanger the animal, other animals, or the general public. The exam is in addition to, or in conjunction with, the issuance of a valid health certificate as required in the Operations Manual for canine deployment.

These exams are considered routine canine care and are allowable costs under the Task Force Readiness Cooperative Agreement, provided that the current budget plan includes this type of expense. More than likely, these costs will be incurred due to a specific deployment; therefore, these costs may be submitted for approval as part of a deployment reimbursement claim (via the Response Cooperative Agreement) because the Task Force was activated.

Task Forces may arrange for a DVM to be on call for this service around the clock, ensuring that the deployment window can be met. Alternatively, handlers may be requested to provide documentation of an exam which attests that the canine appears free of infectious disease or physical abnormality that would endanger the animal, other animals, or the general public, and was conducted no more than 10 days prior to a deployment by a licensed DVM.

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