Furry friends: Animal groups and coordinated community efforts combine to offer shelter, donations and evacuation assistance to displaced pets.
OAKLAND » As the Wine Country fires continue to destroy homes and displace residents, animal groups and coordinated community efforts have joined to offer shelter, donations, evacuation assistance and more.
Snapshots of requests of help from animal groups have spread sporadically around a number of different groups: A family of six alpaca displaced fromtheir home; a cat found with burned whiskers and paws; 1,000 rescued hens and wildlife fleeing the blazing wilderness with no water sources to drink from.
“This is pretty bad. We are all bracing for the fact that this is going to be a marathon,” said Allison Lindquist, CEO of the East Bay SPCA. “We will see people and animals dis--
placed for a long time while they sort through their lives and try to get back on their feet. We’re making sure we can all work together and provide the resources and safe havens for these animals.”
Unfortunately, many of the evacuees end up in hotels, shelters or homes that don’t allow pets. Many of those animals are being boarded at shelters in Napa, Sonoma and Solano, but those have filled up quickly. To help ease the overload, the East Bay SPCA has opened its Oakland and Dublin shelters for the pets of anyone fleeing the fires.
Animal rescue groups say the most important way people can help is to open their home to foster an animal or to raise funds or donate money to a shelter, humane society or veterinary hospital.
To find a location to board your animal in Oakland or Dublin, visit eastbayspca.org or call their emergency boarding number at 925- 479-9670.
And because some pets aren’t always furry, the East Bay Vivarium in Berkeley is offering two months of free boarding for reptile, amphib- ian and arachnids. Rattie Ratz in Clayton is taking in rats displaced by the fire, and the Napa Valley Horseman’s Association, Sonoma and Solano Fairgrounds have become staging sites for volunteer efforts.
The Laguna Veterinary Hospital in Santa Rosa has stopped regular appointments and has been taking in four-legged burn victims that people find.
“One guy did bring in an orange kitty, who was pretty burned, his paws were pretty burned up,” said Karina Valencia, receptionist at Laguna Veterinary Hospital. “This guy was going around saving cats by Coffey Park, and he was very badly hurt, but he’s eating on his own now.”
The veterinary hospital doesn’t need more animal food, but does need medical supplies, which can’t be found easily. They have set up a GoFundMe page to keep operations running at www.gofundme.com /laguna vet. They can also accept donations in person at 5341 Sebastopol Road, Highway 12 in Santa Rosa, or over the phone at 707528-1448.
Community efforts continue to be spread among a number of different groups that have organized on Facebook and are using shared Google documents to spread information. They are actively using the Zello walkie-talkie app to coordinate their efforts on the ground.
Tish Herion Turman set up the Zello talk channel “Sonoma/ Napa/SR Fires Animal Rescue” after coordinating on the ground efforts during Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. An additional group, called the “Solano fair grounds,” is also coordinating efforts.
Becky Ewens started the Facebook group “Napa/ Santa Rosa Animal Evacuations Info” which has collected a number of resources and areas for people to find ways to help.
Ewens, a substitute teacher, lives in San Jose and realized that she couldn’t drive out to the affected areas easily but realized she could help from where she was by organizing information and resources.
“The problem is, when a disaster happens, there isn’t a way to have all this in place,” Ewens said. “Unfortunately, it just has to be people stepping up and doing it.”
Left: One of 14cats is checked out in the cat intake room.
Above: Rochelle Ball, animal care coordinator, left, and Linda Sackman, director of shelter operation, check out a chihuahua mix dog in the new Travers Family Compassion and Care Center at the East Bay SPCA in Oakland on Wednesday.
Ivan Ng, animal care coordinator, right, and Holly Smith, shelter manager, check out one of 17dogs in the intake room in the new Travers Family Compassion and Care Center at the East Bay SPCA in Oakland.