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Local News

Disabled man, service dog displaced by snow damage

A woman stands next to a sign that says, "United Disaster Relief of Northern California." Trees and a cloudy sky in the background.
Danilla Sands, Director of United Disaster Relief of Northern California.

Timothy Mills and his service dog Dillinger face an uncertain future after the roof of their home collapsed under the weight of the snow on March 5.

Mendocino County is, once again, eligible for relief from FEMA, after President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster due to rain and snow storms. But that aid is to help local governments respond by covering things like overtime for road crews or other disaster workers.

It’s not for individual assistance, as Timothy Mills discovered when the roof of his 1968 mobile home collapsed under the weight of the snow on March 5.

Mills lives on Appaloosa Way in Redwood Valley at about 2,000 feet elevation. Early in the snowstorm, a sheriff’s Search and Rescue team had to pull a truck out of the snow on Appaloosa Way for some people who had driven up there to take care of their horses. Mills checked into the hospital two days after his roof collapsed. He said friends who tried to drive up the mountain to put a tarp over the damage couldn’t even make it with a four wheel drive, due to the unprecedented amount of snow.

Mills’ own woes are compounded by the health problems of his service dog Dillinger, a seven-year-old Rottweiler who’s been a fixture around town, helping Mills with shopping and pretty much everything else. But even as Mills tried to recover in the hospital, Dillinger was recovering from a serious surgery.

We checked in with Danilla Sands, Director of United Disaster Relief of Northern California, to ask about her work with people who have been hit hard by the most recent disaster.

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.