Flood News

Enumclaw team to help care for animals

By BRENDA SEXTON

Reporter Newspapers

Within 10 minutes of getting a call in September from the frantic owner of an aging Arabian horse 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,” Gretchen McCallam said. “And we care about everyone else’s too.”

WASART 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 has been recruiting and training volunteers from animal-related organizations that have skills to handle large animals 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.

According to McCallam, many have already completed the mandatory courses and they are hoping the remainder wrap up the courses quickly so all can be eligible to participate as members on field response teams if the Green River floods during the rainy season of November through March.

In the group’s monthly newspaper, McCallam noted, the King County Office of Emergency Management has only tasked WASART

WASART with setting up and staffing a temporary livestock shelter at the Enumclaw Expo Center if livestock is displaced by the flooding. However, the WASART board of directors anticipates some evacuations or rescues may be necessary and it would like to have sufficient personnel available.

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