Home burns in Venture County in Woolsey Fire
A burning home in the Oak Park area of Ventura County. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Animal rescuers continue their scramble to find shelter and care for thousands of small pets and large animals displaced by the Woolsey Fire that has burned 91,572 acres, destroyed at least 370 structures and forced the evacuation of more than 265,000 people in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Evacuation centers for animals at Hansen Dam in Lake View Terrace quickly filled up after opening Friday.

City shelters in the East Valley, West Valley and West Los Angeles were still accepting evacuated animals.

A large animal evacuation center was established at the Zuma Beach parking lot in Malibu, where a photo from the Los Angeles Times showed llamas tethered to a lifeguard station backed by a red sky. Industry Hills Expo Center in the San Gabriel Valley was offering shelter for horses from fire-affected areas.

The county’s Agoura Animal Care Center was evacuated, but the remaining six Los Angeles County animal care centers — in Baldwin Park, Carson/Gardena, Castaic, Downey, Lancaster and Palmdale — were accepting small animals.

In Ventura County, Borchard Community Center at 190 Reino Rd. in Newbury Park was accepting dogs and cats, while the Camarillo Community Center at 1605 E. Burnley St. was accepting small animals. Those who need large animal assistance were advised to call (805) 388-4258.

Another center was open at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 W. Ave H in Lancaster.

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Services was in the fire area providing further assistance.

“Community! Let’s rally together to help the displaced animals and their human companions in this urgent situation,” the department tweeted over the weekend. “Kennels/crates are needed at sheltering sites – please take them to the office of Council Member Bob Blumenfield at 19040 Vanowen St. Reseda, CA 91335 Thank you all!”

The department also encouraged people to go to their closest animal care center and adopt animals to clear space for those displaced by the fire.

City officials in Los Angeles also sent out an emergency message seeking foster families.

“If you can adopt or foster, please go to the closest LA City Animal Service Center to help create life-saving space during the high winds and fire. This is an EMERGENCY!” said a post on the department’s Facebook page.

Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista announced it would waive all adoption fees until further notice, and is bringing in adoptable pets from nearby shelters to help create space for new animals evacuated from the fire. The facility can be reached at (424) 384-1801.

Bunny World Foundation founder Lejla Hadzimuratovic said the phone at her Los Angeles-based rabbit rescue group was ringing nonstop with calls about domestic rabbits being dumped by residents fleeing their homes. She was taking requests from people who need help — and those who want to help — via email at info@bunnyworldfoundation.org.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Los Angeles chapter said Saturday that they would deploy a disaster response team to the Woolsey Fire after answering the call for mutual aid from the Los Angeles County Department of Care and Control.

“SpcaLA is headed to a staging area in Thousand Oaks, where DART members will report to Los Angeles County Incident Command. DART consists of humane officers, veterinary staff, animal care givers, and other professionals,” spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein said.

She also urged people who want to support spcaLA’s disaster relief efforts to donate at spcaLA.com.

Donations of unopened pet food and wire crates to supplement what spcaLA is bringing to the Woolsey Fire can be dropped off at any spcaLA location during operating hours, or purchased on spcaLA’s Amazon Wish List.

Among those showing support for the cause, actress Sandra Bullock donated $100,000 to the Humane Society.

Pierce College in Woodland Hills received more than 100 kennels, water and food donations from local State Farm agents that allowed owners to spend the night with their dogs. Only dogs in kennels were allowed at the Evacuation Center.

Pet Food Express was offering free self-service pet washes at all of their Southern California stores through November 18 (offer to be extended, if necessary). Washing your pets gets rid of the soot and smell from the fire that could be filled with toxins from burning cars and metals.

“Toxins can definitely be concentrated in ash, and the contaminants can be really, really bad, depending on what burned,” veterinarian John Tegzes said. “Bathing pets is also critical since they groom by licking whatever is on their fur.”

VCA Animal Hospitals also is doing its part by offering free boarding at select hospitals for families affected by the fires.

“These raging fires have impacted countless families, many with pets who need to find shelter,” said Art Antin, the company’s chief operating officer. “VCA hospitals in the area of the fires are extending free boarding for pets, so evacuated families can focus on their most pressing priorities.”

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