This week last year there were hundreds of animals were sheltered at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds after being rescued by a non-profit during the Oroville Spillway Crisis Emergency Evacuation.
All the work was done by volunteers with the North Valley Animal Disaster Group.
In the Oroville Dam incident, almost all of the day-one evacuations were requested by owners who were unable to return home to pack up their animals.
In the first 6 hours, over 60 animals were sheltered. That number increased to 248 in less than 24 hours after the evacuations began. NVADG phone operators handled over 450 calls for service in that same time period. Sheltered animals included the usual dogs, cats, and parrots, as well as pigs, cows, goats, lambs and chickens.
"The serious problem with the dam spillway developed so quickly that many residents were unable to evacuate their animals," said Norm Rosene, Vice President of NVADG. "in an evacuation this large it's very necessary for people to take care of their families first, and sometimes that means that animals are left at home. That's where we step in and help," he added.
In this latest disaster, NVADG was dispatched by Butte County along with several other agencies and groups. They rapidly set up an emergency animal shelter, working with local animal control officers and veterinarians. NVADG equipment trailers were staged near the Incident Command Post (ICP), and specially trained and outfitted evacuation teams were dispatched from NVADG's 40 foot long command trailer.
White boards inside the trailer were soon covered with team member's names, radio frequencies, and assignments.
A trained NVADG dispatcher kept track of evacuation teams in the field. Each team of two was given assignments via radio, and traveled by specially marked vehicle to the vacated areas to locate and capture animals at the request of the displaced owners.
Allowed to go behind evacuation and fire lines because of their extensive training, and always in radio contact with local incident command leadership, NVADG evacuation team members worked through the night to accomplish the many assignments given to them.
"We have a full portfolio of rescue options that include a technical rescue team with both rope rescue and swift water certified technicians," added Rosene. "A separate rescue trailer houses two boats, motors, rope rescue equipment, and both human and animal first aid supplies. Special large animal slides, which allow the movement of livestock, and the rescue of horses from overturned trailers, are also located in the rescue trailer."
The non-profit runs on donations from the public, if you would like to help them out, click here: http://www.nvadg.org/about/donate