The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a mutual aid agreement between the Riverside County Department of Animal Services and the Norco Animal Rescue Team, under which the latter will assist in large and small pet rescues requiring specialized equipment and expertise.
“We’ve been trying to get this done for several years. Finally, it’s happening,” Norco City Councilman Berwin Hanna told the board. “With this agreement, we’ll be able to go out and help a lot more, extend our area of service outside the city of Norco. This will make it easier. We can provide help everywhere we go in the county.”
The no-cost mutual aid pact was approved on a 3-0 vote, with Supervisors Manuel Perez and Chuck Washington absent.
Along with the all-volunteer Norco Animal Rescue Team — NART — personnel from Norco Animal Control will be available to assist the county Department of Animal Services, the fire department and other agencies during emergencies. In turn, county assets will also be available in Norco, according to the agreement.
The terms stipulate that the NART volunteers will only deploy within western Riverside County, the boundaries of which are generally recognized as stretching east to Banning, south to the Hemet Valley, north to the San Bernardino County line and west to the Orange County line.
NART specializes in large animal rescues, particularly involving horses that are trapped or in confined spaces, injured and unable to extricate themselves. Norco is known as “Horsetown U.S.A.” The compact specifies that county veterinary staff will be sent to assist NART whenever possible.
The group has been active for more than 15 years in the city and immediate surroundings.
According to the agreement, along with actual deployments, NART volunteers will periodically train with Department of Animal Services officers.
“The agreement will have a positive impact on Riverside County residents, their pets and service animals in that it will ensure preservation of animal life and protect the public’s health,” according to a statement posted to the board’s policy agenda.
There is no termination date for the compact.
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