- Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine
Napa Valley’s Animals and Their Safe Keeping
By Linda Bausch
The human and animal bond is essential to community health. We love our pets, the variety of which is far too many to list here. Domesticated pets and captive livestock trust humans, exclusively, for their every need. In times of peril, our animal’s lives depend on brave, fast-acting humans for their safe well-being.
As the summer days march on, so comes to mind the danger of high temperatures and the stretch of long, dry spells. It’s time to remind ourselves to prepare for whatever may come our way—from day-to-day care to emergency evacuation preparedness.
A local equestrian, a mere fourteen years old at the time of the Tubbs Fire disaster of October 2017, Adaline Hanes, recounted for me what it was like during the midst of the great animal rescue.
“It was very much a blur because of how fast it went. In a flash, Valley Brook Equestrian Center welcomed 175-200 animals on property (horses, sheep, chickens and donkeys). We had help from the local rescue groups and from Napa Community Animal Response Team (CART). Trucks loaded with pipe panels came in and we just threw up as many corrals as we could.
“There was an ‘all hands on deck’ urgency with watering, feeding and cleaning constantly. We were able to help a massive amount of animals until we ended up being evacuated and that was crazy. There were trailers pulling in and out of our one-lane driveway and even ended up loading horses into trailers on the street (El Centro). It took about three hours to get everyone out. We were a well-oiled machine at that point. After that initial major fire, the emergency situations in years following were never as bad.”
Caring for animals runs deep in Adaline’s blood—taking after her mom—who has spent countless hours at local shelters and rescue organizations volunteering and working to secure fur-ever homes for helpless little critters. (Together, they have fostered many little ones and an emu!)
That first hectic emergency rescue operation confirmed to Adaline that she had a calling to make a future for herself in the equine world. She is proud to have been accepted to Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she will study Equine Science beginning this fall.
A recent interview with Napa Valley Equine’s Claudia Sonder, DVM, began on a positive note of appreciation. “One of my favorite things about the Napa Valley is the amazing group of animal non-profits working together towards a common good. Napa CART works with the Napa County Animal Shelter, Napa Humane, Wine Country Animal Lovers, Jameson Humane, We Care Animal Rescue and Sunrise Horse Rescue to respond to animals in disaster. In addition, the veterinary community in Napa is tight knit as well, and the veterinarians support each other in times of disaster. Napa County’s Emergency Operation Center leaders and first responders have integrated the animal component of response into their emergency action plans. I have worked with disaster groups across the state, and I consider Napa to serve as a template for others to follow in regards to addressing the animal component of disaster response.”
Dr. Sonder continued, “In 2017, we were evacuated from our clinic for 6 days. Our animals were relocated to Valley Brook Equestrian Center and Napa Valley Horseman’s Association. Before 2017, our facility was used almost annually to house client’s horses who were evacuated in small, regional fires. After 2017, we have a more advanced regional sheltering system for horses. We work closely with our amazing team of community advisors during disasters including Napa Humane, Jameson Humane, Sunrise Horse Rescue, Wine Country Animal Lovers, We Care Animal Rescue and Napa Wildlife Rescue, who are all key players in providing resources to the animals in need.
I asked what some of their pressing needs are and Dr. Sonder replied, “Napa CART is in need of shelter supplies for large animals and personal protective equipment for our volunteers. See our Amazon Smile account for more information.”
From the veterinarian point-of-view, Dr. Sonder named a variety of pitfalls. “Covid, pharmaceutical supply chain issues, decreasing availability of large animal veterinarians and inflation have landed large animals behind on their routine veterinary care. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure when it comes to the comfort level and welfare of large animals. From the Napa CART and disaster response perspective, priorities remain outreach to inform pet owners to plan for their animals and have an evacuation plan which they drill on Red Flag Days. We do not accept donation of food or bedding in non-emergent times.”
What are your best suggestions for a horse owner to be prepared in case of an evacuation emergency? “Check out the Red Flag Day routine videos on Napa CART’S website and YouTube channel. They provide a thorough review of planning for companion animals and for large animals. If you need help formulating a plan, you can contact email@example.com for assistance.”
Napa Valley Equine is located on Silverado Trail. They have three part-time and one full-time DVM on staff, and a veterinarian on call 365 days a year, 24/7. Their team shares on call responsibilities and work together to ensure patients get the attention they need. Call for more information at 707-227-8973.
Jameson Humane Animal Rescue Ranch (founded in 2014), has been actively involved in disaster preparedness and response since the Valley Fire in 2015. Every year since, in collaboration with the volunteer-based Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Community Animal Response Teams (CARTs) and Napa County-operated Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Jameson has provided resources and funding for supplies, food, and medical care for animals and is working to become a central hub for these groups to galvanize as an incident command post, education center and nexus for communication during disasters.
Monica Stevens, Co-founder of Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch, had this to add. “The collaboration between the CERTs, CARTs, and first responders is necessary in having the most impact to protect and save lives. We are humbled to be able to play a role in bringing together our partners during times of disaster so that we can effect real change and quickly. It is so important for ongoing education, prevention, and intervention, which are central themes to Jameson Humane’s mission.”