Oregon Humane Society deploys second team to help with Camp Fire response

Second OHS team helps care for pets people affected by deadly California wildfire.

Tyreen Jerrell helps microchip a cat.

Late last week, a second group of OHS responders deployed to California to help care for hundreds of pets displaced by the Camp Fire. OHS staff members Tyreen Jerrell and Erin Luther, plus OHS volunteers Lynn Davis and Cecil Reniche-Smith are part of a team led by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA).

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) received the request for assistance from the state of California through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). OEM coordinated with ODA to fulfill the request.

The Oregon Humane Society was asked to participate in this deployment because of our depth of expertise in emergency animal sheltering.

In late November, OHS also deployed a team of four to assist the ASPCA with caring for animals displaced by the Camp Fire and consolidating shelters in Chico and Oroville, CA.

The latest team from OHS was recruited to help oversee daily care of more than 500 animals that are being housed at the Butte County Animal Disaster Shelter in Oroville, CA. They are working with the National Guard and local volunteers to care for dogs, cats, chickens and other pets. Many of the animals still do not have identified owners, so the OHS team is providing administrative support and assisting pet owners who come to the shelter to look for, or pick up, their pet.  The days are long and the work can be emotional. “These people have gone through so much and lost so much — you just want to do everything you can to help them,” says Lynn Davis, OHS volunteer.

Despite the challenges, the team has been inspired by the generosity of the community and the resiliency of those affected by the fire. “It’s really amazing how many volunteers have come out to help,” says Erin Luther, OHS animal care technician. “There are a few that lost their homes and possessions in the fire, but they volunteer every day anyway.”

The OHS team is expected to return to Portland on Dec. 21. Leaders from the Oregon Humane Society will continue to be in touch with agencies assisting with the Camp Fire recovery to help in any way needed.

OHS is able to respond to disasters like the Camp Fire because of donor support. Make a donation here.