RIVERSIDE – It can be a rewarding job for volunteers – and a limited amount of time is required to become an official, certified member. Riverside County is once again putting the word out about volunteers for the Riverside Emergency Animal Rescue System, also known as R.E.A.R.S.
The nonprofit group is a network of volunteers trained by Riverside County Animal Services to assist the department in large-scale emergencies, such as wildfires. The volunteers are dispatched through Animal Services’ command structure.
Each year the department seeks new volunteers for an orientation meeting and various training exercises. The next orientation meeting is Saturday, March 25, at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter at 6851 Van Buren Blvd., Jurupa Valley. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and usually ends at about 4 p.m. The meeting is mandatory for anyone who would like to become a member of the special unit of volunteers.
Oftentimes, during a disaster, many people want to assist Riverside County Animal Services with rescue efforts. But the department only calls upon volunteers who have gone through the R.E.A.R.S. orientation and certification process.
Volunteer members are generally horse enthusiasts because they’re helping with evacuations of larger animals, livestock and have the vehicles and trailers that become critical in big events.
R.E.A.R.S. members have also assisted Riverside County with animal cruelty cases involving abused or neglected horses.
The REARS volunteer application form can be found online at www.rcrears.com/member.htm.