The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) in response to legislation signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 29, 2006 has been working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture in the development of the
California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES). The California Emergency Services Act, Section 8608, includes direction on implementation and authorities of the CARES program.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Cal OES and CDFA was agreed upon and signed as required by the government code. The development of planning documents and a concept of operations continues as lessons learned from the 2007 Southern California Fires as well as more recent emergencies are studied and incorporated into the process.
Animals play an integral role in society. In many homes, pets are considered to be members of the family. Working animals provide valuable services to the community and production livestock contribute millions to the economy. It is no wonder then, that when disaster strikes, citizens are intensely concerned about their animals. Numerous studies have shown that people are reluctant to evacuate during a disaster without their animals. Images like the one here, of “Rodeo”, a Border Collie stranded on a roof in the 1997 Yuba floods, make a lasting impression and cause the community to ask, “What is being done for animals during disasters?” To answer, the State of California has created the CARES through the joint efforts of the Cal OES and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
California is home to nearly 19 million domestic animals. Polls conducted in 2012 estimate that California is home to 6.7 million dogs and 7.1 million cats. The California Department of Food and Agriculture reported in 2012 that there are over 5.5 million cattle in California, 570,000 sheep, 141,000 goats, 670,000 horses, just over 100,000 hogs, and millions of chickens in the Golden State. Approximately one out of every three households in California owns a dog or a cat.
CARES is an operational guidance to assist with all aspects of animal care and control in the event of a disaster or emergency. In addition, CARES provides resources for the public, for animal businesses, for shelters, and for emergency planners. CARES is structured in accordance with the
Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS).
The CARES Field Operations Guide is designed to be used as a reference for animal emergency responders during disasters. It provides “need to know” plain English information on how to set up and run an animal shelter, what forms and supplies will be needed, and who to call for assistance. It contains references to several local animal emergency plans as well as standard operating procedure guidance.
For more information visit the CARES Website at
www.cal-cares.com and be sure to like us on FACEBOOK.
The Cal OES lead project coordinator for the CARES is Program Manager I Kristina Moffitt and can be reached via email at