While the Sand Fire has forced thousands of residents from their homes, hundreds of animals and pets were being held in a variety of shelters today while fire crews continued battling the blaze.
According to the county Department of Animal Care and Control, 345 horses, 165 goats, 111 chickens, 33 pigs and even a Brahma bull displaced by the fire were cared for at area shelters.
Displaced llama, mules, sheep, rabbits, turkeys and donkeys are also among the critters being overseen at shelters including the Antelope Valley Fair Grounds, Hansen Dam and Pierce College. Smaller animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs were being cared for at county animal shelters in Lancaster, Agoura, Castaic and Palmdale. Temporary shelter facilities have also been established at evacuation centers.
As firefighters make steady progress containing the 37,000-acre fire, some residents were already picking up their animals and returning home. About 30 animals were pulled from the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds by Monday night, according to Danny Ubario, deputy director of operations for the county’s animal control department.
VCA Animal Hospitals was offering free boarding for small pets at some of its area hospitals. The animals must be vaccinated, but if they aren’t, the hospital will offer free vaccinations, along with health screenings. Residents were urged to contact the hospitals in advance to ensure space is available. The hospitals are:
— VCA Adler Animal Hospital and Pet Resort, 16911 Roscoe Blvd. North Hills, (818) 893-6366;
— VCA McClave Animal Hospital, 6950 Reseda Blvd., Reseda, (818) 881-5102;
— VCA Parkwood Animal Hospital, 6330 Fallbrook Ave., Woodland Hills, (818) 884-5506;
— VCA Animal Hospital (Burbank), 2723 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, (818) 845- 7246;
— VCA Westlake Village Animal Hospital, 31166 Via Colinas, (805) 497- 4900;
— VCA Arden Animal Hospital, 407 Arden Ave., Glendale, (818) 246-2478; and
— VCA A Breed Apart Animal Hospital, 777 S Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, (626) 795-4444.
Officials at the Wildlife Waystation in Sylmar said this morning that their evacuated animals were still not allowed to return to the facility, but they were hopeful that the evacuation order would be lifted later today. Community members showed up Saturday to help move animals from the 160-acre sanctuary at 14831 Little Tujunga Canyon Rd.
Spokesman Jerry Brown said all the animals still at the facility and those taken to warehouses to wait out the fire were safe and well cared-for. He added that power was back on at the sanctuary and personnel were awaiting word to start bringing everyone home. Workers at the waystation appear to have all the necessary transport vehicles, and say no additional volunteers or vehicles are needed.
Meanwhile, officials at the Lange Foundation said Monday that their St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary in Canyon Country, a facility for dogs, cats and horses, was evacuated, and the foundation is looking for people willing to temporarily foster more than 80 cats and 40 dogs. The animals are being held in “crowded, temporary conditions,” according to the foundation.
Anyone interested in fostering animals can call the foundation at (310) 473-5585.