Placer County Animal Services will host a special training on May 3 to teach volunteers how to evacuate large animals during an emergency such as a fire, flood or severe winter storm.
The training is designed to help build a County Animal Response Team (CART). Team members will be called out to help when animals are in danger during an emergency. Course work will include handling large animals during a disaster; personal safety; and the incident command system, which is the management structure used by emergency response personnel.
CART training will take place on Sunday, May 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Auburn Equestrian Center, 11330 Mt. Vernon Road, Auburn. Pre-registration is mandatory; call Placer County Animal Services at 530-886-5547. Lunch is being provided by Echo Valley Ranch Supplies. There is no charge for the class, but class size will be limited.
“Horses, cattle and other large animals can be in grave danger during an incident, such as a fire,” said Michael Winters, Placer County Animal Services Program Manager. “However, trying to evacuate large, frightened animals may also put the rescuer in danger, so it’s critical that our volunteers know what to do and what not to do,” he said.
Families are always responsible for having plans in place to evacuate their animals in the event of an emergency. Many people regard their animals as family. According to a Zogby International Poll referenced on the Humane Society of the United States web site, 61 percent of pet owners said they would not evacuate if they could not take their pets. Livestock may also be an important economic resource.
“People do not want to leave their animals behind to an unknown fate,” Winters stressed. “Human lives always come first, but by planning for the evacuation and care of animals, more human lives can be saved and/or kept out of danger.”
In rural Placer County there may be many large animals in need of assistance. During the Gladding Fire in rural Lincoln last Labor Day, 192 animals were moved, including 100 horses.
Class instructors will include staff from Placer County Animal Services, the Placer County Agricultural Commission, and the University of CA Cooperative Extension Services, as well as professional ranchers. Students will gain experience in loading horses, cattle, sheep and alpacas. They will also learn protocols for serving as part of an emergency response team in the field.