Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Help save four legged victims of the California fire

California Wildfires Emergency Relief PetSmart Charities dispatched two of our Emergency Relief Waggin's on Oct. 23rd to help the animals impacted by the California wildfires. Each semi-trailer contains enough donated pet supplies to support up to 500 companion animals. Both Waggin's will be received by the City of San Deigo at Qualcomm Stadium, a designated community evacuation location. You Can Help Your donations help PetSmart Charities provide food, crates, litter, beds, and funds for medical supplies and vaccinations. You can make a tax-deductible donation to help the pet victims of the California wildfires and future disasters in one of three ways: Make an Online Credit Card Donation Now Make a cash or credit/debit donation at the register inside any U.S. PetSmart store between Oct. 24 and Oct. 30. Mail in a check donation directly to: PetSmart Charities Attn: Disaster Relief 19601 N. 27th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85027 (Please write "disaster relief" in the memo section of the check) Generous contributions made to PetSmart Charities so far have provided more than $120,000 in pet supplies to animal welfare agencies involved in sheltering evacuated pets. PetSmart Charities provides immediate emergency relief funding and supplies to assist pets affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, fire and other natural disasters. Funds raised for the California wildfires will be used to aid pets affected by this disaster. Any donations above and beyond what is needed to provide relief for pet victims of this disaster will be deposited in the general disaster relief fund to be used for future disaster relief efforts. If you are an animal welfare agency and would like to request emergency assistance, call 1-800-423-PETS ext. 2840. Blog Notes: I was pleased to see that some shelters were indeed allowing pets, but most pet owners have to camp in pup tents or in their cars. Many flee without leashes or any supplies for their pets, many leave their pets behind to fend for themselves. Muttshack, a non profit rescue agency was actively involved in the rescue of animals deserted in the California Esperanza fire. They detail the conditions below: As families fled their homes in the early morning hours on Thursday October 26, there was no warning. The Esperanza Fire southeast of Los Angeles and West of Palm Springs, California, had ballooned under the influence of Santa Ana winds to more than 19,000 acres as of the morning of October 27. No time to get the animals, no time for crates or even a leash. Sadly, owners left behind not only their horses, lamas, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, but also their dogs and cats. Many of the families who did manage to evacuate their pets found themselves in the parking lot at the Fellowship in the Pass Church Red Cross Shelter where a MuttShack Animal Rescue team caught up with them. Pam Anderson, Director of the emergency Red Cross shelter said that many people with animals had come and left. The air was thick with smoke, and ash was raining down on the parking lot where dog owners, not able to take their dogs into the shelter were camping out in pup tents and in their cars. There were no emergency shelter facilities set up for animals. Those who could afford it checked themselves into pet friendly hotels in nearby towns. Jane Garner, a small dog breeder was able to get all her animals out, and had set up her puppy runs alongside her RV in the parking lot. Others were not doing too well, having left home without as much as a leash. The same scenario played out at the Red Cross shelter at Hemet High School. Animals were being boarded in vans, trailers and cars and small travel crates. When MuttShack Animal Rescue arrived, a small fracas had sent several dogs off in different directions, running out of the school parking lot down busy streets necessitating an instant rescue response. The Incident Command for the Esperanza Animals, Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto welcomed MuttShack‘s offer to help at the shelters. Ramona Humane Society had recently published a notice in their Newsletter about the newly passed “PETS” Act and warned owners not wait until a major disaster such as an earthquake or fire to prepare. "Be proactive to ensure that your pet will be taken care of.” MuttShack and PetSmart Charities set up ad hoc facilities for the animals at both shelters. The Red Cross shelter, run by Madison Burtchaell of the Orange County Red Cross was very accommodating about allowing a small emergency pet shelter adjacent to the School. Barbara A. Fought of PetSmart Charities, an organization active in disasters, provided crates and emergency supplies. MuttShack and Red Cross volunteers, Martin St. John, Tom Hamilton, and Steve Meissner helped assemble the crates to secure a safe environment for evacuated pets. It was a great relief for evacuees who had camped out in the parking lot to finally leave their vehicles and relax at the shelter, setting up their cots to grab some sorely needed rest. The Esperanza fire burned 34 homes, consumed 40,000 acres and cost five Firefighters their lives before it was contained four days later on October 30. Firefighting operations cost nearly $10 million. MuttShack Animal Rescue is a 501(c) 3 non-profit charity organization active in disasters and dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of lost or discarded dogs, cats and other animals. Please take time to donate to these two worthy agencies.

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