CDART is off the ground and on the map in EK

New animal rescue organization is holding first volunteer and public information meeting Wednesday

  • Apr. 12, 2016 2:00 p.m.

Barry Coulter

The CDART team will be comprised of trained volunteers, who in the event of such an emergency will work with other emergency responders to rescue pets and domestic animals like horses and cattle, and find shelter for them.

The new East Kootenay branch of the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) is off the ground, and already on the map. And things are moving along quickly.

The new organization is holding its first volunteer and public information session this Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at ABC Country Restaurant in Cranbrook. The meeting’s at 6 p.m.

In the event of disasters such as wildfires, floods, severe storms, environmental disasters, or anything that requires the evacuation of residents from their homes, CDART works with other emergency responders to rescue pets and domestic animals like horses and cattle, and find shelter for them.

Organizer Ron McConnell said that since CDART put out the call for volunteers last month, the response has been outstanding.

“We’ve got great volunteers on board, and quality volunteers,” he said.

“Veterinarians, vet techs, wildlife techs, Search and Rescue technicians, people with administrative experience — a whole range of people. The Backcountry Horsemen have offered us their services, for transporting …”

The East Kootenay chapter will be the fourth in B.C., along with Oliver-Central Okanagan, Shuswap and Southwest B.C.

McConnell said the head office — CDART National — has given the East Kootenay the go-ahead to register as its own independent non-profit charitable organization.

“Basically, we’re going to be covering all of southern B.C.,” he said. “From east of the Lower Mainland, south of the Okanagan to the Alberta border.” He added that they expect to eventually expand into southern Alberta.

The purpose of Wednesday’s meeting is to welcome the new volunteers who have already signed up to help, as well as to provide information on the organization for the general public.

CDART is an all-volunteer organization, with no government funding, although when called out by Emergency Social Services (ESS), all volunteers are covered under WorkSafeBC and Provincial liability insurance.

The organization founded in 2003, and since then has taken part in emergency responses on an international scale, notably in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in Louisiana in 2005. Plans are in the works to expand across the country, to be able to provide a coordinated response organization from coast to coast.

Anyone interested in joining the group or requiring more information is encouraged to attend the meeting, Wednesday, April 13, at ABC Country Restaurant in Cranbrook at 6 p.m. You can also contact local organizers at 250-421-2700, 250-420-7221, or