County wants owners to plan for pet rescue


By Patsy Nicosia

With a nod to Hurricane Katrina, Schoharie County’s emergency Management Office is joining forces with the Schoharie Valley Veterinary Clinic to help pet owners start thinking about what they’d need to do if a disaster like that ever hit here.
Together the two will be hosting a Pet Owners Emergency Preparedness Seminar Saturday, October 25, at the jail in Schoharie.
There will be two sessions—9am to noon or 1-4pm; register by calling 295-2276 to let them know how many people to plan for and in case organizers decide to combine the two groups.
Judy Warner, head of the EMO, said the seminar is a first step in helping develop a disaster plan for not just pets but livestock as well.
“A lot of what came out of Katrina is that people wouldn’t leave their homes because they wouldn’t leave their pets,” she said.
“We probably won’t have a hurricane here, but a major flood is a real possibility. We’re hoping that by helping people plan ahead, they’ll be ready to leave—with their pets—if something like that happens.”
The sessions on the 25th will also include some basic per first aid, Ms. Warner said, again with the goal of being prepared should disaster strike.
Ms. Warner said she sees this as a first step in putting together an Animal Response Team that could, say, take part in large animal rescues.
“I don’t know a lot about horses, but I do know that if one got trapped in something like a pond, you don’t just go and pull them out,” she said.
“We want to start training people to deal with things like that.’
Ms. Warner said she’s also like to see people like dairy farmers put together emergency plans—even if it’s only a list of who has trailers to share and where cows might be housed short-term in the event of something like a fire.
“What I’m really hoping for [for the seminar] is a core of people interested in running with this,” she said.
“I have people who have said they’d help, but we need someone to take care of it.
“Too often people lose their lives by going back to get their pets. We want to keep that from happening.”
For more information on the seminar of the 25th or to volunteer to help, contact Ms. Warner at 295-2276.