Governor deploys Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team, AgriLife Extension to assist with California Wildfire Relief

Published 4:41 pm Friday, September 25, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

To The Leader

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott announced that nine members of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) and six agents from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will deploy to Butte County, California on Saturday to help care for animals displaced by the ongoing wildfires. The VET deployed to the same area last December to provide oversight on sheltering, inventory and data management, veterinary medical support for injured and ill animals, and efforts to reunite animals with their owners.

The team’s mission will be to support three area shelters that have taken in almost 500 animals that have been displaced by the wildfires. The VET will bring their experience in managing emergency shelters and situations to help ease the stress being put on the local responders. The initial team deploying includes four veterinarians, two veterinary technicians, and three logistics and support personnel.

“Texas is always ready to answer the call to help our fellow Americans in their time of need,” said Governor Abbott. “The dedicated men and women of VET and AgriLife will help strengthen California’s efforts to rescue and provide care for animals displaced by the fires. The Lone Star State will continue to offer any assistance needed for California’s ongoing wildfire relief efforts.”

“Our deployment to the camp wildfires in December 2018 and January 2019 set the stage for this request,” said VET director Dr. Wesley Bissett. “We have a close working relationship with the community we are being deployed to and our capabilities are well known to them. Our primary role will be to provide consistency in operational management and veterinary medical care. They have an outstanding group of people at the local level and I know we will all work together for the sake of the animals, their owners, and Butte County, California. Anytime you go into out-of-state deployments, there is an element of uncertainty that is based on being so distant from the impact area. There is always a discovery phase during which you work to understand, specifically, what is needed so that your team can contribute to the success of the jurisdiction you are serving.”

This isn’t the first time this year that the VET has assisted with the ongoing wildfire efforts. Dr. Deb Zoran, VET member and professor in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, recently deployed to Oregon to assist with the Texas A&M Task Force search and rescue dogs working in a particularly hazardous area.

This support is provided to the state of California through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact administered by the Texas Division of Emergency Management. For updates on the deployment, follow the VET on Facebook (@TAMUVET) and Twitter (@tamuvet1) and at