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Issue 974

Sam Mazzotta

Help Fire Evacuees and Their Pets

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: The ongoing wildfires in California are heartbreaking. I have seen a few news reports about pets being lost to the fires, though some people had time to evacuate with their pets. How can I help these families and their pets? — Janine G., Texas

DEAR JANINE: This year’s record wildfires, much like last year’s tragic fires in California, have seen residents escaping with not much more than what they can carry. And many people chose to carry their pets above all else.

Most evacuation facilities do not accept pets, leaving some evacuees outside in 100 F heat. Many owners have had to drop off their cat or dog at pet shelters and stay elsewhere. However, at least one improvised shelter has opened in Shasta County, California, specifically so pets can stay with their owners.

Nonprofit shelters in California are working as fast as possible to get pet crates and supplies to the affected areas, setting up communication lines with shelters in fire-ravaged areas like Redding and Shasta County so the supplies can be distributed. These groups are putting out the call for donations of specific items like pet food, cleaning supplies, food and water bowls, bedding and more. Check the websites of area Humane Society organizations for ways to donate either supplies or money.

These direct donations can have the most immediate impact. Haven Humane Society in Redding, for example, has seen a huge influx of evacuees and has set up an additional shelter in an empty strip mall to take in hundreds of pets. The organization also is treating pets rescued from the wildfires and expects to receive many more injured pets that ran away from owners during hectic evacuations.

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