Local groups evacuate large animals

Photo: Matthew Keys / Winters Express

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When mandatory evacuation orders hit farmland large animals have to be moved—quickly. Linda Palagi Lynn, of 3R Rescue, has made the evacuation so often in the last five years that she has become a pro. “We always have a disaster plan and evacuation plan in place,” says Lynn. This means always having volunteers, supplies and accomodations ready at a moment’s notice. Lynn says that the volunteers were so well-trained this year that they were able to get the 15 dogs and seven horses off the property in under two hours. After the animals were moved, Lynn had to place each animal in a fitting temporary home. 3R Rescue had find shelter for dogs ranging anywhere from 11-weeks-old to seniors. Each dog has special needs, and many were affected by the high emotions that they sense in the humans. “They stress, they really stress,” Lynn says of the dogs she has evacuated. Many have stopped eating since the evacuations began. Moving horses provides another set of difficulties. A dog is comparatively easy to get into a crate and a temporary shelter. Horses require trailers and land. Many people have difficulty relocating horses in a hurry, and when they do the Yolo County Sheriff’s Posse is ready for their call. The Sheriff’s Posse is a group of trained professionals who volunteer their time to provide mounted support to the sheriff if needed. This support includes anything from evacuations to search and rescue missions to community events. Haylee Clay, a Winters member of the Sheriff’s posse, spoke with the Express. “Many members are also a part of North Valley Animal Disaster Group as well as Yolo County Search and Rescue, doing several trainings per year to be qualified in incident command systems, radio operations and rescue operations,” Clay says. Clay had already been evacuating horses for years before she joined the Sheriff’s Posse. This year, when she had to move more horses that in years previous, she called up the posse. “Without them, me and my friends with trailers would’ve had to make at least four to five  trips to get all the horses out.” 3R Rescue has also helped some friends and neighbors evacuate this week. “It’s not that exciting to us,” Lynn says. They have become so used to moving large numbers of animals quickly that they now have time to help other ranchers. Lynn says the most important advice that she can give on evacuations is to have a plan and know how to execute it. She credits her team’s fast response time to the volunteers who had practiced the evacuation procedure. “People don’t have a plan,” Lynn says, and that’s what leads to problems. Lynn recommends that anyone with pets always be ready with leashes, halters, food and medications. Dogs and cats should have crates for transportation and shelter. Horses need to be ready and able to be loaded into trailers. Lynn travels with portable fences so that she can house the horses easily. After the Napa-Sonoma fires last year, Lynn talked with county employees about starting a group to educate the community about evacuation procedures. As this year’s early fire season, she’s hoping that the county takes the plan seriously.]]>

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