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Pets, Livestock Rescued By Animal Crews During San Diego Fires

Aired 8/17/12 on KPBS News.

As firefighters continue to battle wildfires burning in San Diego’s East County, animal rescue crews are helping displaced pets, livestock and other animals.

As firefighters continue to battle wildfires burning in San Diego's East County, animal rescue crews are helping displaced pets, livestock and other animals.

The San Diego Humane Society is sheltering about 70 animals, including mules, lamas, horses and chickens, according to Gary Weitzman, president of the San Diego Humane Society.

Weitzman said backcountry fires often pose logistical problems because of the number of ranches and large animals.

“Getting to people, getting to the animals, safely getting them out of danger, making sure that we have good routes of evacuation, and you know, there’s a whole infrastructure to set up,” said Weitzman.

He said people are always reluctant to evacuate without their animals. "And the problem is we don’t want people to stay in a dangerous situation either," said Weitzman.

Weitzman said dogs, cats and other small pets are welcomed at evacuation shelters, and the animals will be provided with food, water and care.

For larger animals or livestock, people can contact the Animal Rescue Reserve at (619) 299-0871 or the San Diego County Department of Animal Services at (619) 236-4250 and press “1" for emergency services.

Weitzman said people should make sure to include their animals in their fire plans, and to know their pets and animals will be helped in emergency evacuation situations.

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