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Firefighters Save Pets With Muzzle Masks

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Man’s best friend and his cat pals got some help from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department on Friday.

— Nearly a dozen pet oxygen masks were donated to the department through the San Diego Fire-Rescue Foundation. Anonymous donors gave $1,000 to pay for the 10 oxygen kits.

Cassie is a tan and white stumpy-legged Corgi. She barely panted when a coned-shaped oxygen mask slid over her muzzle. The little dog seemed eager to demonstrate one of the kits donated to firefighters at Station 28 in Kearny Mesa.

The muzzle-shaped oxygen mask comes in three sizes to fit snouts big and small; they also have leashes.

Jeff Carle, the Assistant Fire Chief for San Diego Fire-Rescue said they used a pet-mask just last week to save a cat trapped in Scripps Ranch house fire.

“After we’ve taken care of the people, and we have the fire taken care of, we don’t like to leave the pet in distress. With this donation we’re being given the right equipment so we’re able to help the pet as well,” said Carle.

Wendy Robinson, executive director the SD Fire-Rescue foundation said having the proper equipment helps responders handle the hundreds of emergency calls they receive each day in San Diego.

“Our firefighters put their lives on the line to keep citizens, property and even animals safe from fire and other emergencies,” Robinson said.

Currently, half of the city’s fire stations are equipped with the pet-oxygen masks, leaving about 17 stations without them.

Nationwide, more than 40,000 pets are killed in house fires each year; the leading cause of death in those animals is asphyxiation.

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