Relief Fund

photos Susan Munroe

Late Saturday afternoon, January 12, 2019, Tuffy’s owner was notified that her horse was down in its paddock. The big beautiful Clydesdale was lying in the mud and unable to get up.

Tuffy was completely exhausted from trying to get a foothold in the deep mud. After several hours of stuggling, the Woodside Fire Protection District (WFPD) and the Disaster Animal Rescue Team (DART) were called for assistance.

Thanks to ongoing large animal rescue training, WFPD personnel, with the help of DART, finally repositioned Tuffy and assisted the large animal to her feet. Once up and able to regain some strength, Tuffy walked out to the driveway where the owner’s veterinarian examined and treated her. Tuffy is recovering nicely from her ordeal.

DART member and Woodside Community Foundation Board member Rick DeBenedetti credited the success of the rescue to the extensive and ongoing training that WFPD personnel and DART members have for just such an emergency.

rescue9DeBenedetti also said, “Huge thanks must be given to those forward-thinking Woodside residents whose donations to the Woodside Community Foundation enabled the Foundation to purchase the horse manikin and special equipment so that the WFPD fire personnel could train for such a disaster/rescue.”

The Woodside Community Foundation thanks everyone who was involved in getting Tuffy back on her feet!

Fire damage

Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team

Following the devastating fires and subsequent floods which occurred in Southern California in 2017, the Woodside Community Foundation reached out to the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team, Inc. to determine whether they needed financial assistance in their ongoing large animal evacuation and disaster relief efforts.

SB Equine Evac got it's start more than 25 years ago after the Painted Cave Fire, and has been active during almost every Fire in the area since. The group assists all Santa Barbara County emergency responding agencies and large animal owners in the evacuation, temporary care and sheltering of large animals in time of fire, flood, earthquake and other disasters or accidents. Their volunteers are trained and registered Disaster Service Workers under the Office of Emergency Services in California. They also provide disaster preparedness and emergency response education and demonstrations for many local public events, agencies and organizations.

SB Equine Evac

Recently, SB Equine Evac stated that it is looking for funding to purchase a large storage container which would be permanently located on the Earl Warren Fairgrounds. This storage container would be used to house the hundreds of buckets, carts, hoses, tools and other equipment needed for immediate access during any evacuation/disaster relief event. Given the enormity of the Fairgrounds, with over 600 stalls and turn out area’s, the group also wanted to purchase a utility vehicle (ATV) or farm type vehicle which would be used for feedings, and delivering hay and supplies where needed throughout the expansive Fairgrounds.

SB Equine Evac

As SB Equine Evac's spokeswoman Ronda Hathaway says, "Our goal is to be prepared and ready to go at the Earl Warren Fairgrounds whenever and for whatever the community needs. We never know when that will be but we have been super busy in past years. A container onsite will help us be ready quicker for incoming animals rather than a storage unit offsite. At this point, the ATV would be for our use only, and the container would be a permanent staging."

In January of 2018, the Woodside Community Foundation was pleased to award $15,000 from the North Bay Horse and Livestock Disaster Relief Fund to this important emergency preparedness project. The Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team now has both its permanent storage container and ATV in place at the Earl Warren Fairgrounds in anticipation of the next large-scale disaster.

Learn more about the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team.

Fire damage

Patti is helped by our donation to S.A.F.E.R.

Here's another person's tragic story from the North Bay Fires. A woman named Patti owned this ranch where she bred her Bernese Mountain Show Dogs. At the time of the fire she had eight dogs and a litter of four three-week old pups. She had to leave with the firemen who woke her up — with no time at all. The dogs all perished along with her turkeys, chickens and other animals.

Fire damageFire3 500x400

Miraculously, the fire jumped the pasture and her three horses and her steer survived, although they could not get to them for a week. These pictures show the ranch and her horses when they returned. The property was still smoking. There was NO INSURANCE. She was unaware her ex-husband had let the policy lapse.

Fire remains

The bodies of her beloved Bernese Mountain Dogs were found under these roof tiles — one of the disaster relief workers dug them out and Patti cremated their remains. You can see how very hot the fire was here.

The Woodside Community Foundation is proud to work with Sonoma Action for Equine Rescue to help people like Patti rebuild their lives in the wake of the disastrous North Bay Fires.

Stay tuned for more updates both on additional assistance to horse and livestock owners in the aftermath of the North Bay Fires, and in the more recent Southern California Fires. The Woodside Community Foundation is committed to helping fellow equestrians, ranchers and farmers affected by the recent devastating fires in California.

Contribute to the Relief Fund

Help support large animal disaster relief through the Woodside Community Foundation.

For more information, contact Rick DeBenedetti, (650) 303-2661.

Donation Page

You may also send a check payable to:

Woodside Community Foundation
P.O. Box 620494
Woodside, CA  94062

Thank you for your help and support.