Oak Fire: Animal evacuation shelters busy with pets

Amanda Aguilar Image
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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Many evacuees only had minutes to grab their belongings as the Oak Fire inched closer to their home -- this includes their pets.

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Many evacuees only had minutes to grab their belongings as the Oak Fire inched closer to their home -- this includes their pets.

Pet owners can keep their animals safe at four different evacuation shelters:

  • Small animals: Mariposa County SPCA, 5599 Hwy. 49 North, Mariposa (full)
  • Small animals: Mariposa Elementary School, 5044 Jones St., Mariposa
  • Large animals: Mariposa County Fairgrounds, 5007 Fairgrounds Rd., Mariposa
  • Large animals: Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds, 44777 Rodeo Grounds Ln., Coarsegold

At Mariposa Elementary, which also serves as the American Red Cross evacuation site, there are four classrooms that have been converted into an animal boarding area.

RELATED: Beloved cat found safe after going missing as family forced to evacuate home during Oak Fire

"A lot of people will not evacuate their homes if they have no place to take their animals. We have large animal shelters. We have small animal shelters. We're here for them," said Leslie Harris, shelter manager for Central California Animal Disaster Team (CCADT).

Forty-nine dogs and 50 cats are staying at Mariposa Elementary. They're being loved and cared for by CCADT.

Leonor and Richard Perez have three German Shepherds staying with them, while their chickens are at the fairgrounds.

"They are our family. They love us and we love them. They take care of us, so we take care of them," said Leonr. "I'm just glad they're able to be here even though they're not comfortable 100% but they are safe."

There are four volunteers who feed and walk the animals. Every time an animal leaves its crates, it gets cleaned.

The shelter manager said many of the animals are stressed because they're in a new environment. Volunteers take time every day to calm their nerves.

"During periods of times, we shut the doors. We turn off the lights. We give them a desensitizing time frame," said Harris.

RELATED: Army veteran's home burned down by Oak Fire in Mariposa County

The crates, food and other items are made possible by donations.

If you're interested in helping, visit CCADT's website.

For the latest developments, photos and videos on the Oak Fire, click here.