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Animal rescue team hosts orientation session

Enumclaw-based Washington State Animal Response Team is looking for new members as the group goes about its business of helping animals in need.

The all-volunteer, nonprofit organization will host an orientation session from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 8 in the Enumclaw Expo Center fieldhouse. During that time, new and prospective members will be introduced to WASART’s history, activities, membership and expectations.

The first thing WASART is looking for is anyone 18 and older who is interested in helping animals and their owners during times of disaster.

During its three years, WASART has grown to about 150 members, scattered all over western Washington. Members are trained in large animal rescue, technical animal rescue and swiftwater rescue and the group has a formal agreement with the King County Office of Emergency Management to assist with animal-related emergencies. There is also an agreement to set up and operate a large animal shelter in the event of flooding in the Green River Valley.

WASART members are experienced in animal disaster response and have assisted during hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike; during the Chilean earthquake and the Gulf oil spill.

For information go to www.washingtonsart.org.

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