OHSTAR Team in a tree during an animal rescue

OHSTAR to the Rescue

Contact the OHS Technical Animal Rescue Team (OHSTAR) when your pet is trapped or stranded and needs help to survive.

Emergency Animal Rescue: OHSTAR

Trained OHSTAR volunteers perform these types of rescues:

  • Evacuating injured pets from wilderness areas.
  • Retrieving pets stranded on cliff sides, river banks, and other areas and structures that can only be accessed safely using ropes, climbing equipment and other technical rescue equipment.
  • Extricating animals trapped in enclosed spaces whose lives are in danger.

Is your cat up a tree?

If you see a cat that seems to be stranded in a tree, please follow the steps in our Cat In Tree Information Sheet (PDF – updated January 2023) before calling for assistance.

OHSTAR members with animal first-aid and rescue training are available to respond to animal rescue situations that require technical skills in the Portland metropolitan area and adjoining counties. For animal emergencies needing cliff rescue and other urgent situations, OHSTAR responds directly to the incident site.

OHSTAR members also assist law enforcement agencies with the safe capture, containment, and transport of distressed animals found in hazardous conditions, including hoarding situations. OHSTAR volunteers are trained to assist during natural and man-made disasters, and have been called upon to assist in large-scale national emergency operations such as Hurricane Katrina and the tornado tragedy in Joplin, Mo.

Read more about what OHSTAR does in this article on Dogster »

Training with OHSTAR »

Practicing to Save Lives »

Dog Rescued in Santiam Forest »

(503) 849-5655 Daily (7 days/week) OR (503) 802-6724 (voicemail only). Please leave a voicemail, phone lines are monitored and all messages will be returned. In cases of emergency, please call your local police department.

Is your cat up a tree?

If you see a cat that seems to be stranded in a tree, please follow the steps in our Cat In Tree Information Sheet (PDF – updated December 2022) before calling for assistance.

Emergency and Disaster Preparedness

Be prepared for emergency situations and remember your pets’ safety. OHS offers resources to help you plan for your pets in the event of a disaster or other emergency:

OHS Disaster Preparedness Tips »

Disaster Preparedness – ASPCA »

Fire Safety Preparedness »

Hiking with Dogs

Many of OHSTAR’s rescues occur when a dog has fallen during a hike with his or her people. Keep your dog safe while hiking by keeping him on a sturdy leash. Even the best-behaved dogs can become distracted and bolt when they spot a squirrel or are startled by unexpected happenings on the trail. Below are some links and resources for safe hiking with dogs.

OHSTAR recommends the book Best Hikes with Dogs in Oregon (and same title for Washington) »

Bring Fido: Dog Friendly Hiking in Oregon »

The Wilderness Society: Tips for Great Hiking »

OHSTAR is comprised entirely of volunteers, and relies entirely on donations to fund all their rescue activities. Your online donation to OHS or donation through our OHSTAR Wish List will help OHSTAR and the many other rescue activities supported by OHS.

All members serve on a voluntary basis and are required to complete the Oregon Humane Society’s Volunteer Training and Orientation.

If you have any questions about becoming an OHSTAR volunteer, please contact us.

Although it is highly desirable that members have technical rescue training prior to joining OHSTAR, this is not required: OHSTAR will provide training as needed. OHSTAR accepts applications year round.