Routt County seeks animal response team volunteers |

Routt County seeks animal response team volunteers

Emma Wilson/For the Steamboat Today

The Routt County Animal Response Team is looking for volunteers to help evacuate animals and run sheltering facilities in Routt County in the event of an animal emergency.

Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to attend the 2014 PetAid Colorado Animal Disaster Sheltering webinar series, which is designed for Colorado County Animal Response Team members, animal shelter staff, animal control officers and animal handlers who work with emergency animal sheltering during disasters.

The need for emergency animal evacuation plans started after the summer drought of 2012 and has been reinforced by the recent fires and floods across the state.

Colorado State University has taken the lead in establishing evacuation plans in case of emergency. A grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials has allowed CSU to take the next step in putting together emergency responders within the county.

“Now’s the time to get together a group of core community responders in the event of an emergency,” Routt County CSU Agriculture Extension agent Todd Hagenbuch said.

The four-week webinar series, which begins Monday, will focus on current best practices in animal emergency sheltering and will highlight a step-by-step approach to selecting a successful animal emergency shelter site, setting up the shelter and creating standard operation procedures for both large- and small-animal sheltering.

The webinars begin by focusing on site selection for emergency shelters and continue by covering shelter set-up, small-animal standard operation procedures and large-animal standard operation procedures.

Diane Robinson, who has worked with American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services since 2006, will teach the series. She developed “Disaster Sheltering for Companion Animals” and is a unique expert in the subject of emergency animal sheltering who shares her knowledge across the U.S.

Potential volunteers are encouraged to participate in the series and later will be expected to take part in periodic training throughout the year.

In the event of a disaster or emergency, along with setting up shelters, the goal of volunteers will be to keep emergency situations positive for animals and animal owners.

Routt County CSU Extension will host the first installment of the webinar series from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday in the Routt County Courthouse Annex’s Trout Creek room.

For more information or to sign up, contact Hagenbuch at 970-870-5244 or

Emma Wilson, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a spring intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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