Moffat County’s animal rescue plan needs volunteers | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County’s animal rescue plan needs volunteers

Erin Fenner

Moffat County set up its first animal emergency plan, which will coordinate how coordinating agencies and volunteers can rescue pets and livestock in disaster situations.

Moffat County agencies and concerned residents teamed up to develop the area's first-ever emergency plan for animals that will arrange the Community Animal Response Team.

Tom Soos, emergency management coordinator for Moffat County, said it was crucial to develop a plan to rescue and protect animals in emergency situations for the community. Moffat County has a large agricultural community but also sees a lot of traffic hauling livestock.

Emergencies that affect animals can range from vehicle collisions to wild land fires, structure fires and floods.

Sometimes "the reason people won't evacuate is that they don't want to leave their pets or animals behind," Soos said.

Moffat County extension director JD Sexton agreed with Soos.

"People will endanger their own lives to save their pets. Our pets are our family," he said. "If you have a good animal (emergency) plan put together you are ultimately saving people's lives."

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PetAid Colorado, which helps animals in disaster situations, worked with Sexton, Soos and other county agencies come up with a basic structure for the animal emergency plan.

"They gave us kind of the direction of what needed to take place," Sexton said.

The new emergency plan, developed in March, outlines how local agencies — including the Moffat County Sheriff Department, City of Craig Animal Control, Moffat County Fairgrounds and local veterinarians — will work together to retrieve, transport and board animals in different disaster situations.

"The next step is we're looking for more volunteers," Soos said.

So far, five county residents have volunteered to be CART team members.

But Sexton wants many more so that they can coordinate rescue efforts across the large county.

"We'd like to get up to about 20 folks in Moffat County," he said.

Different types of animal lovers will be welcome to help out, Sexton said. The CART team will need to be comprised of people familiar with — and able to transport — cattle, horses, dogs, cats and other types of livestock and house pets.

Once people start signing up to be volunteers, CART can start training, Soos said.

"Anybody who's interested can contact (Sexton) now," he said.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com.