California Veterinarian Responds to Disaster Sites to Help Animals
REDONDO BEACH, CA. – August 30, 2018 (tbrnews.com) A veterinarian from California found a new mission in helping animals: responding to disaster sites to care for service animals and to rescue abandoned pets. The story is online at tbrnews.com.*
Veterinarian Dirk Yelinek, of Redondo Beach, California, has spent decades treating people’s pets from his animal hospital. Years ago, he decided to take his skills and passion outside of his home base and began traveling to the scenes of disasters to provide care to service animals, laboratory animals, livestock, and other injured or sick animals.
As part of his disaster work, he helps dogs that help people. During situations like flooding, collapsed buildings, and massive debris piles, rescue efforts will employ dogs to locate missing persons. When those dogs become ill or injured, veterinarians like Yelinek will step in to treat them and get them back out to do their jobs saving people.
However, Yelinek quickly found out that his help would be needed in many other ways, depending on the type of disaster. When Hurricane Rita struck the Bahamas, Yelinek traveled to the site with a team of 19 people. “Of all of the veterinary hospitals I went to with my team, we found most of them without any personnel and some of them where the animals were still inside,” Yelinek said. “So we helped the ASPCA down there get the animals out and bring them to an essential area, which was a field operation in Beaumont, Texas, at the Ford Arena.”
Yelinek says he is glad to be part of the teams of people assisting at times of disaster, and he wants people to understand the importance of animal assistance and the continued value of animals when disasters strike. “You’re helping the humans by helping the animals,” he said, “but you’re really trying to instill in people’s minds that animals are part of the family, and when you’re evacuating, you should evacuate with your pets. I found another reason to be a veterinarian. I’m grateful I can help out.”
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