REARS Members Assist Officers During Disasters
Animal Services is seeking new volunteers to be part of a unique team that assist officers during disaster situations.
Members of REARS – the Riverside Emergency Animal Rescue System – provide a valuable service to our team, Commander Josh Sisler said.
“For more than 15 years, these dedicated volunteers have been an amazing resource for us – and county residents – during crisis events,” Sisler said. “We are very fortunate to work with so many generous people.”
The nonprofit group is a network of volunteers trained by Riverside County Animal Services to assist the department in large-scale emergencies, such as wildfires. The volunteers are dispatched through Animal Services’ command structure.
Each year the department seeks new volunteers for an orientation meeting and various training exercises. The next orientation meeting is Saturday, April 9, at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter at 6851 Van Buren Blvd., Jurupa Valley. Check-in time is 8:30 a.m. and the meeting starts at 9 a.m. and usually ends at about 4 p.m. The meeting is mandatory for anyone who would like to become a member of the special unit of volunteers.
Oftentimes, during a disaster, many people want to assist Riverside County Animal Services with rescue efforts. But the department only calls upon volunteers who have gone through the R.E.A.R.S. orientation and certification process.
Volunteer members are generally horse enthusiasts because they’re helping with evacuations of larger animals, livestock and have the vehicles and trailers that become critical in big events. It is not mandatory that volunteers have horses or experience with horses, but it is a valued skill.
R.E.A.R.S. members have also assisted Riverside County with animal cruelty cases involving abused or neglected horses.