Rescuing Pets And Livestock From California Wildfires

HorseWith hundreds of thousands of Southern California residents fleeing the wildfires, authorities and volunteers are also saving the pets and livestock left behind.

The County of San Diego Department of Animal Services, Los Angeles Animal Services, and the Humane Society of the United States are all working together to rescue the pets and livestock in evacuated areas.

Pet owners have been stationed at emergency campgrounds where pets, including dogs, cats, horses and even goats, and their pet owners are taking refuge. Horses are even being housed in mall parking lots.

Curtis Ransom of the Humane Society said, “It’s a whole different situation from Katrina; people are taking care of the animals. The message has gotten out. It’s a horrible disaster, but as far as the facilities and the willingness to take in animals, I don’t think there’s any hesitation.”

Many shelters have opened their arms to house pets. One shelter said they could even house an elephant.

Lt. Daniel Desousa said workers have been so busy rescuing pets, that there aren’t any estimates yet on how many animals have been saved.

Desousa added that in his 19 years on the job, this is the worse series of wildfires he has seen.


(Thanks Lynn)

If you would like to help, here are a few postings from organizations that could greatly benefit from any assistance:

1) A plea from San Diego Humane for:
horse supplies-hay (timothy and grass), halters, lead ropes, and tons of portable corrals.

They expect to house and care for 500 to 1,000 horses.

If anyone is able to help with supplies please contact:
Stacey Zeitlin
cp@sdhumane. org
Community Programs Manager
San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
5500 Gaines Street
San Diego, CA 92110


PHONE (only use this number): 661-251-6669
Contact by EMAIL is preferred.

We need loving people to come to Animal Acres and help feed and water our rescued rescues. We also need:

Containers for water
Everything you can think of for farm animals to make them comfortable and calm.

If you come to Animal Acres, let them know Susie sent you their way. That way we’ll know if this system works.

We need folks on standby — in case Animal Acres needs to evacuate — with:

Trailers, trucks
Ability to load and unload panicked animals

15 Responses to “Rescuing Pets And Livestock From California Wildfires”

  1. Nora and Rufus says:

    When news of the devastating fires broke….I wondered about all the animals and pets that would possibly be lost or left behind and die and hoped for the best. God Bless all those people who are doing all they can to save the pets and livestock and easing the evacuees minds when it comes to their animal companions.

  2. Nancy G. says:

    Yes, those heartbreaking images from Katrina will never leave my mind, I am glad we learned something from it.

  3. catmom5 says:

    Thank God for all those who are working hard to save the animals from these horrible fires. I don’t know whether it’s the California people or the Katrina experience that is making the difference, but I am so glad these animals are not being abandoned to face the fires alone.

  4. Purringfur says:

    Christie on says she will be a point of contact for anyone wanting to donate money to help the horses.

    From petconnection:
    …”However, horses are another story. Del Mar Fairgrounds is sheltering 2000 (yes, 2 thousand!) horses and needs food. Many people, like myself and my trainers, are sheltering a few horses here and there. We have a half a dozen at our dog training yard (luckily there is grazing there) but two of my trainers have about two dozen horses at their individual homes in their backyards and many other people are doing the same thing. People notify the media or local feed stores and post a note that they can take in horses. I know my trainers are going through hay and feed in a huge way.

    If anyone would like to make a donation that can go towards feeding refugee horses, I would be happy to be the point of contact. I would like to help my trainers who opened up their yards, plus the horses sheltered at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. I could also contact the local feed stores; they will know who needs help.”

  5. Chris says:

    HSUS has been known to do press releases that may not be true. Witness their claim of caring for Vicks’ dogs. From the information I have found, it is the citizens of San Diego with support of the San Diego government who have been doing the work. Here is the information I have found regarding the San Diego fires with regards to the animals:

    According to a San Diego channel 10 news , it is the San Diego Humane
    Society/SPCA doing the work.

    Also, here is the San Diego Humane Society/SPCA site with details of
    the animal evacuations and facilities.

    The only references to participation by HSUS that I have been able to
    find is on their site.

    It has been the City of San Diego, San Diego Humane Society/SPCA, and

    From 10/23 at the SD county emergency web page:
    “Horse shelter update. The Tijuana Valley Equestrian Association is
    helping to place horses in private ranches in the Tijuana River Valley

    Petco has been assisting, and if you would like to donate to their efforts, here is their donation page.

  6. Trudy Jackson says:

    The horses do need help. go to the forums where I and someone else has posted some places where you can help. these came from Gina at petconnection.
    There may be a need for small pets too. Check it out. thanks.

  7. bengals says:

    while I think it is absolutely WONDERFUL that people are helping go back and rescue animals left behind, I cannot help but wonder WHY they were left behind in the first place.

    Were these animals:
    1. left inside the house?
    2. left fenced in?

    If you have to leave your animals behind, for whatever reason, why not just let them outside? Open the gate? At least it would give them a chance to flee should the house catch fire/land catch fire. Animals are smart, they’ll get the heck out of the way.

    God bless everyone in CA, I cannot imagine what they are going through. I thought it was horrible to watch a house in my neighborhood burn down to the ground earlier this year, this is just horrible all the way around.

    EVERYONE there is a hero who is battling the blazes, rescuing the animals, and helping those in need.

  8. Chris says:

    Bengals, The few animals left in the area were because the owners could not get into the area because of the fire. Horses that had not been able to be evacuated were let out of their corral. There were also some llamas too let out. People in helicopters assisted by keeping the llamas back away from the fire.

  9. Amanda says:

    Some people were also stuck with maybe having 4 or more horses and their trailer could only fit 3. They had to make a decision to grab what they could and go. Some were able to call a friend to come help get the last of their animals out but others either had to let their animals run or hope for the best.

    It is a sad situation and I hope I never have to face it.

  10. Jenny Bark says:

    I agree with everyone who said thank God for all the wonderful people who are working so hard to save the people & animals. Calf. has a lot to be proud of & I for one am proud of you. All the hard work you are all doing & the wonderful way you all are taking care of their needs is an example for all the states & our goverment to see. You are DOING what all of Americans imo use to always do to help & take care of each other.

    What is now happening in Calf. imo will be compared to Katrina for years to come. I think that now no state or goverment can ever say that people & animals can’t be saved or helped. Thanks Calf..

    I only have one problem with the article in the
    ” The Humane Society’s Curtis Ransom is stationed at an emergency campground in San Diego County where people have taken refuge with their dogs, cats, horses and even goats.

    “It’s a whole different situation from Katrina; people are taking care of the animals,” Ransom said.”
    Please tell me this Ransom is a good guy and just mis spoke. I say things a lot of times that do not always come out sounding the way I mean it & I pray this is so for him. We all know people in Katrina didn’t have help for days except by the Coast Guard. They loved their animals too.

  11. bengals says:

    Chris — I heard the same news report too… I also saw interviews with people who left their animals behind…I’m thinking of one couple in particular, who had time to grab toilet paper (??), but left their cat. Which I’m sure, was left inside the house.

    Some people did open the gates, but others, who WERE HOME, left their animals inside to burn along with their homes…that’s all I’m saying. If you cannot get TO your house, and was not there when all this happened, then I can understand.

    That’s all I am saying…

  12. Barb says:

    RE: Chris says: October 24th, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    HSUS has and IS helping us here in San Diego immensely!

    This email I got directly from the Director of SD Animal Services the other day: “We are the lead agency in San Diego County for disasters effecting animals. We asked HSUS and Noah’s Wish for help and they responded in force. And of course San Diego Humane stepped up to the plate. We have evacuated hundreds of livestock and animal control officers are doing “welfare” checks on livestock, dogs, cats, birds etc. as we get calls from owners who could not return to check on their animals. We have 40 agents from HSUS, at least 30 from SDHS, 30+ of our animal control officers working to help the animals.”

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  14. nature says:

    I have room at my Arizona barn to keep a couple of horses. Have 8 here now two more won’t matter. They will be well fed and cared for. No wild horses please I have kids. Leave message at

  15. Nomd says:

    Poor Horse. Sad :(

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