North Valley Animal Disaster Group Helps Support Animal Rescue Efforts During Oroville Dam Evacuation

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Rescue Organization Puts Animals First in Oroville Dam Crisis.

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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.

North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NVADG), a non-profit Animal Rescue Organization based in Chico, California, announced today it has rescued and sheltered nearly 250 animals in the wake of the possible spillway failure and breach of the Lake Oroville Dam. More than 180,000 people have been evacuated out of the surrounding areas due to the fear that the water will breach the emergency spillway. With the quick evacuation mandated by the Butte County Sheriff’s Department, many left without their beloved animals. That’s where NVADG stepped in.

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 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.”

About the North Valley Animal Disaster Group

NVADG is 100% supported by donations from the public. Those wishing to support the work of this all-volunteer group and assist with the Oroville Dam incident are encouraged to visit the website at http://www.nvadg.org, and make a donation through PayPal.

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