From The Squawking Macaw by Bob Kaegi
This is where we go into the response methods in removing birds, or animals in either element of a Disaster, or Criminal Case. In a Criminal case most times there is already a Shelter, or Temporary Shelter that has been put in place. Once the warrant has been has been served, depending on the situation, all who are responding to the crime scene will already have certain directions and orders to follow. They will be given tasks they must follow. Some of these people will remove birds or animals from cages and be placing them into transport cages or carriers, a photographer will take photographs, and each cage will be given an Identification number. Animals that may appear to be ill will be removed first and a priority will be given. These are the ones who are to receive immediate veterinarian care first, much like a Triage Area.
Birds and animals that are paired up or caged together should try to be kept together to reduce the stress of the animal, they usually share the same ID number with a, b, or c and so on attached to their records. Depending on the number of animals to be removed, several transports may be required, with again priority given to the sickest, and most stressed animals first. In a criminal case remember you are handling evidence, but also handling a living breathing being. It is possible to be professional, and compassionate.
Make sure during the removal that all paperwork remains with the carrier until it reaches the shelter. Like any response there will be areas called staging, at the primary scene or response scene, and at the shelter. There will be many swift moving things occurring around you, with lots of noises, and orders being given, make sure you focus on your task only, unless otherwise told by the operations commander on the scene. That will usually be the Humane Agent or Animal Control Officer. While on the scene you may see other aspects of different agencies working the scenes, so be sure to stay out of their way, they will be collecting other evidence in the case.
Shelter Operations and Triage
During the day of operations, and while the animals are still being removed, some of the most critical care animals will be arriving for care. Depending on the size of the operation, there may be several exam areas set up to start a general exam and start care of the animals that start coming in
A Vet Care team will do primary exams, and treat animals coming in. The team will consist of the following members.
The Veterinarian: who will do the primary exam.
Vet Tech: or experienced person to assist in restraining the animal during exam.
Scribe: who will take notes and record the Veterinarians findings during the exam and make notes of any medications prescribed on the animal’s records. Also keep a record of the team personnel.
Photographer: Photograph the animal, for ID purposes and or anything the Vet finds important to the case.
The team will work and stay together as a team until all animals have been examined.
Once each animal has been examined that animal will be handed off to a runner, and will go to the section of the shelter that has been cleared by the veterinary team. The animal will move on to Hot Quarantine, Cold Quarantine or General Population areas. (We will describe this later in a future part of the series).
The animals will be then placed in their prospective housing be it cages’ or crates. At that time they will be fed, and watered and also be observed be Animal Care Staff in the shelter to ensure they settle in without any issues. Should there be issues, they need to notify someone in the veterinary team immediately.
This will continue until the Primary Operations cease.
(On a personal note this is the most difficult day for everyone involved to deal with. It is very fast paced, and you will see things that you wish you didn’t have to ever witness. You may witness death, and need to take a moment. This will not because of anything you have done wrong, but because things went on in the case of abuse and neglect for too long. Again as in the first segment, this is not for everyone, and can be heartbreaking for a few, but joyful for others who made it out. You will have been a part of that escape.)
In a Disaster Operation
Many of the things such as Vet Triage and basic shelter care will be the same, it is important to maintain as healthy environment as possible for all involved. The biggest difference is that the animals are not going to be treated as evidence. BUT… Disasters occur without a lot of warning, so things move just as quickly, and without everything being prepped as neatly as one would like. So keep that in mind when responding.
Next in the series – Ongoing Operations and Shelter Support