Nearly 10,000 homes around Paradise, Calif. have been destroyed since the Camp Fire started its hellish rampage on Nov. 8. It spread quickly, and many people weren’t able to save their pets. First responders and animal rescue groups have discovered thousands of them dead or injured and pulled them from the ashes. Many were found sitting in the smoldering embers of their former homes.
As displaced pets are brought to local shelters, those shelters are filling up — meaning animals already there have nowhere to go. Rescue groups like Rocket Dog are taking as many as they can, but foster homes (even temporary) and adopters are badly needed. Funds are also desperately needed to pay for the massive medical bills. As the holidays approach and we are safe in our homes with our lucky pets, please consider the following ways you can make a difference for the voiceless victims of the Camp Fire.
Caring Choices has volunteers caring for displaced animals and offering medical care. caring-choices.org/home.html
Butte Humane Society is accepting wet and dry pet food, litter boxes, kennels, crates, leashes, toys and more at 2580 Fair Street in Chico or through an Amazon wish list (set Butte Humane as your charity of choice on Smile.Amazon.com and Amazon will make a donation for every purchase, increasing your impact). The food and supply pantry is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for Camp Fire evacuees. 530-343-7917,
The Chico Animal Shelter took in all the animals evacuated from the now-destroyed Paradise Animal Shelter, so they are overflowing and could use your support. www.
The California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (CVMA) has not gotten as much coverage as they deserve, considering how many animals were injured in the course of this horrible and fast-moving fire. One reader from Chico says, “Our local veterinarians are amazing, but they quickly reached their limit with the size of this disaster.” You can help keep them going. https://cvma.net/
North Valley Animal Disaster Group is providing emergency animal sheltering and evacuating animals from fire areas, when safe to do so. 530-895-0000,
VCA Animal Hospitals is offering free boarding for displaced pets, as availability permits. vcahospitals.com/
Golden Gate Veterinary Compounding Pharmacy is offering a 30-day supply of free pet medication for those affected by the wildfires. 888-855-6337
Rocket Dog Rescue is making trips to the area, bringing supplies and bringing back animals from local shelters. If you want to donate, foster, or adopt, text is the best way to reach founder Pali Boucher: 415-756-8188. You can also email [email protected] or [email protected]
OTHER ANIMAL ORGANIZATIONS
Northwest SPCA: 530-533-7636,
Chico Cat Coalition: 530-894-1365, chicocatcoalition.org/donation
Wags & Whiskers Pet Rescue: 530-895-8888, wagsandwhiskerspetrescue.com/donate.html
Horse Plus Humane Society: 888-474-7077, 530-282-5565,
Maddie’s Fund has a central message board where rescue groups and others can connect regarding the Camp Fire: maddiespetforum.org
Tony La Russa’s ARF Disaster Relief: 925-256-1273, arflife.org/disaster-relief
HAVE A PLAN
Here are some animal disaster preparedness tips from the Humane Society of the United States.
For horses and other large animals: If you have a horse or large animal at a boarding facility or barn, ensure the locks to the barn doors are operational and easily able to be opened in the event of an emergency.
• Have trailers lined up and ensure that you have enough vehicles to move the number of horses at your barn/facility.
• In extreme danger with limited time, let your horse or large animal into a larger enclosed area that has been tamped down and is out of the line of fire. Ensure the safety of first response personnel by not allowing the horses to run free.
• If you are evacuating, let your large animals out into a paddock or corral, cut off their access to return to a barn or stall (as they will naturally retreat back to where they are fed or cared for, even if the structure is on fire), and make sure the animal is easily identifiable; consider using nontoxic spray paint to spray paint your phone number on their body for easy reunification purposes.
For small wild animals: Do everything you can to allow fleeing animals to pass through, and if you are not in a line of fire, provide access to fresh water. The assistance/guidance of a professional wildlife rehabilitator is likely required if the animal requires medical attention or intervention.
Disaster kit: Have a disaster kit ready in your home at all times. Include these items:
• Food and water for at least five days for each pet. Bring bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food.
• Medications for at least five days and all medical records, including vaccination history. Keep these stored in a waterproof container. You may also consider storing them digitally on a flash drive or online.
• Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with tags for identification. Microchipping your pet is essential as collars can be easily removed.
• Pack a pet first aid kit.
• Litterbox with extra litter and a scoop.
• Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers to transport pets safely.
• Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your animals.
• Comfort items, which may include a pet bed or a special toy to reduce stress.
• Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian. This information can also be kept digitally.