Animal rescue group gets nod for flooding

Within 10 minutes of getting the call Sept. 9 from the frantic owner of an aging Arabian up to its neck in a marsh in Enumclaw, the Plateau-based Washington State Animal Response Team was on its way.

Greta Cook took the information and loaded rescue equipment into a truck, while Gretchen McCallum rounded up a Field Response Team. It didn’t take long before Carla Dimitriou, Bill Daugaard, Mary Ann Bentley, Romona Eller, Heidi Kuester and Patty Vanassa, along with firefighters from District No. 44, a Maple Valley tow truck and veterinarian Henry Friedlander were helping the horse back to stable ground.

The horse was a little hypothermic, but sustained no injuries.

“We care about our animals,” McCallam said. “And we care about everyone else’s too.”

It wasn’t the first rescue for the local team. In March, the group saved a horse that had fallen down a well near Ravensdale.

It also won’t be the last, and now WASART, whose motto is “Helping Animals and Their Owners in a Disaster,” has been tasked by King County Animal Care and Control with setting up and staffing a livestock animal shelter at the Enumclaw Expo Center in the event flooding occurs on the Green River.

WASART is recruiting and training volunteers from various animal-related organizations with large animal handling skills to help staff the Enumclaw Expo Center under the direction of WASART Team and Operations Leaders. In addition to those with livestock handling expertise, volunteers are also being recruited from various veterinary and veterinary technician groups and organizations. Volunteers will supplement the already trained WASART members if shelter care is required for animals displaced in a Green River flooding. Depending on the circumstances, the shelter may need to remain open from between three weeks to several months.

Anyone interested is invited to attend a volunteer training session 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 7 or Nov. 14 at the Enumclaw Expo Center exhibit hall. Volunteers only need to attend one of the sessions, not both.

Training is free, but a $10 donation is suggested to cover administrative expenses like photocopying handouts, equipment rental.

Topics will include chain of command, processing procedures, cleaning and exercising of animals, minor animal first aid, safety and mental health/self care.

Lunch will be available for $7.00.

Preregistration is required: Registration for either training session is requested no later than seven days prior to the training date selected. For more information, contact Training Director Bill Daugaard at or 425-417-8339. To register for a training session, contact Lynn Telford-Zenk at or 206-498-4633.

All trained volunteers will be credentialed as Temporary Emergency Workers for both training and actual shelter work so they have liability coverage and protection under the Washington Emergency Worker program.

Information on WASART is available at

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