A Friend to Four-Legged Evacuees

By Eric Maldonado, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

Mark Scott, senior animal control officer and operations supervisor for the Petaluma Animal Shelter has been working around the clock since the Valley Fire erupted on Sept. 12, 2015.

When he received the request from authorities to handle animal control, Mark immediately jumped into action. The first night, as evacuees filed into Napa Fairgrounds Shelter, he saw families bringing in their cats, dogs, horses, goats and other types of animals.

As he saw the large numbers of furry friends and their people seeking safety at the fairgrounds, Mark thought to himself, “This is going to be bigger than we think.”

He knew supplies were going to be in short supply, so he used the power of social media to ask the public for supplies. Their response was immediate. As soon as donors were dropping off food and supplies, there were recipients picking them up.

As the fires continued to burn, Mark conducted search and rescue for animals in distress. He brought the animals he found to the Middletown Animal Hospital where they could be reunited with their owners.

More recently, Mark has been operating the mobile animal shelter, where residents staying at the Red Cross Shelter at the Twin Pine Casino and Hotel can check their pets in for the night or just while they sign up for Red Cross assistance. He’s knows he is providing peace of mind for pet owners while they work, sleep or seek help from one of the many relief organizations.

Mark will be going back to his day-to-day operations soon, but he’s leaving behind a several kennels, lined with used Red Cross blankets for warmth; a pop-up canopy for shade; food; and leashes for anyone who might need to use them.

Mark cares for animals so much because in his words, “It’s like helping a child, they’re defenseless. The dog can’t say thank you, but at the end of the day, you know you did something good.”

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