Featured on an episode of Confessions: Animal Hoarding that aired in January on Animal Planet, the Solvang-based Animal Rescue Team works by a no-animal-left-behind policy to save as many injured, sick, orphaned, and misplaced animals as possible.
The nonprofit organization, which was founded in 2007 by a Cottage Hospital orthopedic surgeon and a lifelong proponent of wildlife rescue, finds most of its animals through calls from people who come across the unfortunate animals, said Julia di Siena, the executive director of Animal Rescue Team. Siena explained that the group’s team had about 400 animals pass through. The 20-volunteer group also receives calls from the Humane Society and Highway Patrol about unlucky animals.
Animal Rescue Team specializes in bobcats, fawns, and foxes. Siena said that the bobcats are of special interest to the organization because of the unique danger the species is in currently.
“Trappers here in California who trap bobcats are getting $600 for a pelt,” said Siena. “They sell the pelts to Italy, Greece, and China. It’s become an epidemic statewide — bobcats are declining at a high rate.”
Though the team accepts all animals, it usually sends birds the way of Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network because their facility is more equipped to handle them. The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network does the same when its members come across coyotes, bobcats, and fawn.
Occasionally, the organization will help out domestic animals as well as wild ones.
“We’ll work with dog foster groups,” said Siena. “We have several litters of kittens that we raised last year, and we adopted them out.”
Since the organization is privately funded, explained Siena, it is always open to willing volunteers, as well as donations of animal food, raw meat, trash bags, and paper towels. Animal Rescue Team was and will have a booth at Tuckers Grove in the May 19 Search and Rescue event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.