Disaster Grants Spark Hope in the Wake of West Coast Wildfires

Doug McInnis, AVMA member and owner of West Ridge Animal Hospital in Klamath Falls, Oregon, makes it a point to provide charitable care to animals each year. But last year was different. Because he lives and works in an area affected by the devastating wildfires that tore through his state, he was inundated with requests for charitable animal care.

Toto is one of the fortunate pets that found his way to Dr. McInnis during the wildfires. It is uncertain if Toto was homeless or lost when his owners had to flee. But when he was brought to Dr. McInnis, he required surgery for a fractured scapula. After a successful surgery, Toto was placed with a foster family for rehabilitation. Toto’s owners have not come forward to claim him, and the family fostering him has fallen in love and will be adopting him. Now living in a loving home, Toto is recovering well.

Toto’s care – and that of other animals treated by Dr. McInnis in the wake of the wildfires – was supported in part through a Disaster Reimbursement Grant from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).

Dr. Glen Winters, an AVMA member and owner of Phoenix Animal Hospital in Medford, Oregon, received an AVMF Disaster Relief Grant following the wildfire that burned his clinic to the ground.

In September 2020, The Alameda Fire swept through several towns, destroying over 2,000 homes and 1,000 businesses, including Dr. Winters’ practice. His clinic was a complete loss, including supplies, equipment, and inventory. “We were able to evacuate all the animals, and the staff is safe,” says Winters. “The last two animals had to be taken by my employees, since the area was inaccessible. A 38-pound tortoise was taken to Walmart and the owner met us there, and a dog was taken to a rescue society we work with, and the owner pickup up the dog the next day.”

The area affected by the Alameda Fire was declared a disaster area when the infrastructure of the town of Phoenix was destroyed. “It will be almost two years before Phoenix Animal Hospital can be rebuilt,” explains Winters. “We are opening a temporary site a few miles away, and we will be working out of that space until our new home is ready. Thanks to all the help we have received, including from AVMF, it will be possible for us to re-open. As the name Phoenix suggests, we will rise from the ashes and be stronger than ever!”

AVMF Disaster Relief Grants help reimburse AVMA veterinarians for costs they incur following a natural disaster as well as COVID-19 pandemic hardships. AVMF Disaster Reimbursement Grants provide up to $5,000 to help ensure the emergency veterinary medical care of animal victims of disaster.


All programs of the AVMF are supported through the generous donations of AVMA members and other individuals. To learn more, visit AVMF online. To donate, click here.