Volunteer vets set to rescue animals from bushfires

Hills residents can rest assured that if a bushfire was to wreak havoc in the region, a team of volunteer vets is on hand to save companion animals and wildlife.

Cherry Gardens vet Dr Rachel Westcott with Labrador Belle. Dr Westcott initiated the SA Veterinary Emergency Management plan, a Government recognised emergency response for volunteer vets to rescue and treat companion animals and wildlife in disaster areas within the State.

Led by Cherry Gardens vet Rachel Westcott, the SA Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM) plan was created to mount a response to such emergencies.
Once given the all-clear from SA Police (SAPOL) and CFS crews, the team is permitted to attend to the areas affected and “triage, rescue and reunite”.
Dr Westcott formed SAVEM in 2009 after seeing the devastation from the Victorian bushfires earlier that year.
After co-ordinating aid and raising money and resources for affected areas she said it became apparent that provisions for companion animals and wildlife in emergency situations were lacking in SA.
“It became quite clear… that we should do something because it’s only a matter of time before we have a big fire here,” she said.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.