Animal rescue efforts in Butte County led by volunteers

Local News

PARADISE, Calif. (KTXL) — When disaster strikes in Butte County, animal rescue efforts begin at the North Valley Animal Disaster Group warehouse in Oroville. 

Sixteen teams were dispatched Friday from the communications and dispatch trailer to evacuate animals left behind by families fleeing the North Complex West Zone fire. 

The animals are then brought to Camelot, the group’s large animal shelter in Paradise. 

Lori Grande is one of more than 150 volunteers lending her hands during this time of need. 

“For a volunteer to be able to do this, it’s just everything,” Grande told FOX40. “So as soon as we get a call, we’re all here. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 in the morning or whatever, our heart’s so into these animals to take care of them we just get up and go.”

Since Tuesday, they have received more than 350 calls from evacuees needing help for their animals. 

Jeannie Pittman said hundreds of animals have been rescued, everything from household pets to horses to goats and llamas. 

“If it’s a pet, it’s breathing, we are going to bring it in and take care of it,” Pittman said. 

They’re fed, watered and treated by an on-site veterinarian if needed. 

“Every volunteer here checks on all these animals throughout the day,” Grande said. 

But not every animal is evacuated. 

“If we can leave the animals in their home environment, that’s our number one goal,” Grande said. “And then, we will send our evacuation teams out and our evacuation teams will feed and water the animals and make sure they’re all OK.”

For Grande and Pittman, it is not their first rodeo. But they said every disaster they respond to is different. 

“But it’s just as heartbreaking. Every fire is just as heartbreaking for us,” Grande told FOX40.

The massive animal rescue operation is 100% volunteer based. 

“What joy do we get out of it? We get out the joy of giving back, giving the people who have had to evacuate — in some cases run for their lives — some peace of mind,” Pittman said. “And there’s no dollar amount that you can put on that.” 

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