Furry friends: An­i­mal groups and co­or­di­nated com­mu­nity ef­forts com­bine to of­fer shel­ter, do­na­tions and evac­u­a­tion as­sis­tance to dis­placed pets.

The Mercury News Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Aaron Davis adavis@ba­yare­anews­group.com

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.”

PHO­TOS BY LAURA A. ODA STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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.

LAURA A. ODA — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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.

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