Oregon Department of Agriculture to send veterinarians and shelter management experts to northern California to care for hundreds of animals displaced by the Camp Fire


Salem—The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) will lead a team of 22 Oregon volunteers to Butte County, California to take over the operations of the Small Animal Full Care Shelter. The shelter is one of 3 shelters established by the county to house companion animals and livestock that cannot return home. ODA organized 5 veterinarians, 6 veterinary technicians and 11 shelter management experts from all over the state to serve in a clinical and management role caring for more than 500 animals. While roughly 100 of the animals have been matched with their owners, the remainder have yet to be claimed. The crew will leave Friday, December 14.

“When California asked for help, without hesitation we responded with a yes,” said ODA Director Alexis Taylor. “This is the first time as a member of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) we have been asked to organize a deployment. Being a good neighbor is a big part of what we do at ODA. I really want to thank all the volunteers who are taking time out of their busy lives to help us make this happen so quickly.”

The state of California made the request through the EMAC, a national state-to-state mutual aid system. The EMAC request was sent directly to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) who coordinated with ODA to fulfill the request.

ODA Veterinarian, Ryan Scholz, is organizing the deployment and sees this mission as preparation for our state. “This is a great opportunity for us to put our years of preparations to the test,” says Scholz. “I’m sure we will learn a lot and we plan to bring that knowledge back to help ensure that we can respond in the event of a natural disaster in Oregon. We need to be ready.”

Scholz also represents ODA as lead for the Oregon State Emergency Support Function 17, Agriculture and Animal Protection, that coordinates the state’s response for animal and agriculture issues in an emergency or disaster.

During their 9-day deployment Oregon’s volunteers will help organize shelter operations, and assist in developing a long-term operations structure. The veterinarians and technicians will oversee the ongoing care of the animals as well as develop and improve infectious disease management protocols. The shelter management experts will oversee approximately 30 National Guard troops and other volunteers who are handling daily care tasks.

Organizations participating in ODA’s deployment:

Oregon Department of Agriculture

Jackson County

Josephine County

Washington County

Oregon Humane Society

Rogue Valley Humane Society

Oregon Veterinary Emergency Response Team

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The Communications Office of Governor Kate Brown.

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