Code 3 Associates, Inc. was started in 1985 by Nan Stuart and Eric Bagdikian to provide much needed training for animal welfare and law enforcement officers involved in animal issues in the South Lake Tahoe, CA area where they both worked; he as a police officer and she as a California State Humane Officer. After more than ten years, training expanded to include a more national approach. Nan started teaching for the National Horse Abuse Investigators School in 1986 and for the National Cruelty Investigations School in 1990.
As a state humane officer, Nan was involved in responding to disasters such as fires and floods in her home state of California. In 1995, as a result of the Oklahoma City terrorist bombings, she and a friend, Connor Michael, an over-the-road truck driver and part time humane officer in Maryland, came up with the idea of creating a fully self-sufficient vehicle that could respond to animal needs in disasters. Connor already owned a tractor, a new trailer was purchased and the interior was modified to function as a true animal disaster response vehicle.
Code 3 Associates Mobile Command Center, also known as BART (Big Animal Rescue Truck), debuted in the fall of 1996, and began its disaster response career that summer when it was deployed to Hurricane Bertha in North Carolina. Since then, BART and its volunteer team of professionals have responded to nearly 40 federally declared disasters as well as other smaller state and local events. Over the years, BART has remained in continuous service to the animal community through donations, sponsorships and the efforts of a dedicated team of employees and volunteers. Continuing changes and modifications to equipment and design keep the truck on the cutting edge of animal disaster response.
Code 3 Associates was incorporated and received its non-profit status in 1998. We have evolved from one unpaid volunteer to five full time employees, 16 instructors and that same unpaid volunteer. In addition to our full time team members, our team has at least 75 professional responders around the country with highly trained response team leaders and dedicated volunteers working to further Code 3’s mission.
We have not only expanded our disaster response efforts and the size of our team, but also our humane education class topics and reach. Working in partnership with Colorado State University and with more than fifteen trainings and academies taught all over the United States, more than 300 students a year have gone through training classes put on by Code 3 Associates.
Through years of growth and change, our mission remains the same – to provide professional disaster response for animal needs, and to train individuals involved in animal related law enforcement and emergency response to safely and effectively carry out their responsibilities to the animals and people in their communities.