As thousands of people rush to save each other and their property from this season’s devastating wildfires in California, many are also trying to local animals.
The Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control alone have taken in hundreds of animals.
Deputy Director Allison Cardona told NBC News that they had about 700 animals in their care as of Nov. 12.
This includes about 550 horses, nine cows, and at least one tortoise.
But she says thousands more have been displaced because of the fires.
She estimates that more than 10,000 pets have been displaced from the Woosley and Hill fires near the Venture-Los Angeles County line, as well as the Camp Fire in Butte County.
“It’s hard to wrap your head around what a disaster this is — for people and animals,” Cardona said. “Anything that impacts people, impacts their animals.”
Ventura County is also trying to accommodate the influx of animals.
They’ve taken in 56 horses, 30 dogs, 25 cats, seven chickens, six rabbits, four goats, and a bird.
Sheila Murphy, who is the county’s spokesperson for their health agency which oversees animal control, says her own son had to flee the area with his two scared dogs.
“The dogs were very confused and jumping around and looking at them like, `Are we OK dad?’ ” Murphy said.
Some civilians are also trying to do their part to help house lost animals.
Dr. Bill Matzner, who owns eight horses and usually boards nine, has taken in 13 more since the Woolsey Fire broke out not too far from his Simi Valley ranch.
“It’s been a scary time,” Matzner said. “To us, these animals are our children, our family.”
He says the horses are safe from now but that can change if the wind changes directions.
“You never know when the winds shift,” he explains. “The winds are blowing away from us now but if they shifted, we could be vulnerable again.”
Dan Savageau was helping a friend evacuate his donkey, cat, dog, and three goats when he was enlisted by local to help with pet-saving services.
He’s picked up about 14 dogs and a cat since Sunday and took them to a makeshift shelter at the Chico airport.
He found a pack of nine dogs on Rosewood Drive in Magalia.
“They all came out with a big puppy smile, happy to see us and wagging their tails,” Sauvageau said. “I love animals, but more I hate the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. It’s the worst feeling.
“Those people down there feel helpless and I want to help pull out as many (animals to safety) as I can.”
Celebrities are also doing their part to help California’s four-legged fire victims.
Actress Sandra Bullock donated $1oo,ooo to save animals from the fire, according to CNN.
Her donation was made to The Humane Society of Ventura County.
“Our efforts for rescuing and caring for evacuated animals from the Hill and Woolsey fires had caught her attention and her team reached out to the shelter to show their support,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “Sandra Bullock and her family have reached out to other nonprofit organizations both during this incident and in the past. However, this time she wanted to contribute to those on the frontline rescuing animals in peril and hope others will choose to do the same.”
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In addition to being displaced, so many animals have been injured in the fire.
This includes wild animals who are roaming around injured and suffering.
Here are a few ways you can help animals affected by the California wildfires:
- Donate to the Humane Society of Ventura County here.
- Donate to the Woolsey and Hill Fires Pet Donation Drive by Surfcat Rescue and Adoptions and Ventura Pet Barn here.
- Foster or adopt a pet from LA Animal Services or make a donation here.
- Donate to VCA Charities who is offering free boarding for pets here.
- Donate to Ventura County Animal Services here.
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