WHO IS WASART
WASART (Washington State Animal Response Team) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit all-volunteer organization that helps companion animals and livestock out of immediate crisis and dangerous situations. For example, if your horse falls into a well, your dog falls over a cliff, your cow gets stuck in a barn wall, or your community needs help sheltering animals for short-term issues such as threat of fire, WASART is trained to help out in these situations. Though WASART does not self-deploy, the team may be called out by an owner or an agency such as the fire department or sheriff's office.
WASART responds to disaster and emergency situations involving all domesticated livestock and companion animals. We are not trained to handle wildlife or exotic species.
During Hurricane Katrina, a third of New Orleans residents refused to evacuate. One third of those individuals refused to leave because they could not take their pets with them. One particular story about a boy having to leave his little white dog, Snowball, behind affected founders Gretchen McCallum and Greta Cook.
They were determined that what happened in New Orleans should not happen in Washington State. Not if they could have anything to do about it. Veterans of other volunteer search and rescue organizations such as Northwest Horseback SAR, McCallum and Cook decided to start WASART. By early 2007, the non-profit was founded.
The first callout came shortly thereafter. WASART received a phone call from Dr. Heather Stewart, VMD, advising that she was on-site with a mare who had been downed in mud in a pasture on private land for approximately two or three days. She said she and the Animal Control Officer at the scene were unable to get the mare to her feet and requested WASART's assistance. Founders Gretchen McCallum and Greta Cook, along with other early members of WASART, were on scene within 40 minutes. Using supplies of rope, tarp, and 4" fire hose, as well as makeshift equipment from the site, they retrieved the mare from the mud, offering her warmth and protection as they overcame every obstacle and challenge to get the horse to proper medical care. Ultimately, the horse did not survive—not every rescue has a happy ending—but WASART was truly born.
McCallum and Cook were joined shortly thereafter by Bill Daugaard, Carla Dimitriou, and another six of their friends. These individuals had volunteered their time in the Hurricane Katrina cleanup effort, and had first hand experience. As a group, they had decided to start their own non-profit, but once they met McCallum and Cook, all of them decided to combine their efforts and become WASART members.
Originally founded to help rescue livestock, WASART's mission soon expanded to include companion animals, too. Currently, the two primary species WASART is called out for are dogs and horses.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
|Training Director||Greta Cook|
|Public Information Officer||Michaela Eaves|
|Past President||William (Bill) Daugaard, P.E.|
|Advising Specialist||Jeff Dahl, DVM|
HELPING ANIMALS AND THEIR OWNERS IN DISASTERS