The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is assisting local agencies with field rescues and emergency sheltering for dogs, cats and other furred and feathered creatures amidst the devastating California wildfires.
As California continues to experience destruction as a result of wildfires, the ASPCA is working tirelessly to help animals in need. In late July, a team of nine disaster responders was deployed to assist Lake County Animal Care & Control. They remained on the ground for nearly two weeks assisting with field rescues, emergency sheltering and conducting wellness checks for more than 5,500 animals including cats, dogs, birds and livestock displaced by the wildfires.
This exhausting work presents many challenges. According to senior director of ASPCA Disaster Response Dr. Dick Green, the most difficult of these trials is pet parents who don’t have a plan in place. “Evacuating animals takes time and lots of practice,” he says. “For small animals, having appropriately-sized crates ready to go and to lean forward with the difficult-to-catch animals saves lives.”
If you live in an area that might be affected by the wildfires – or any other natural disaster – put an evacuation plan in place sooner rather than later. Even pet parents who live in relatively safe areas should put together a strategy in case something unexpected – such as a death, power outage or house fire – occurs. “Be part of the solution, not the problem,” says Dr. Green.