Photo courtesy of Mary Lukins
While most people only watched the news of the wildfires on Saturday night and shook their heads in dismay, members of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Equine Response Team (LACDACCERT) worked through the night to make a home for equine fire evacuees. Pierce College, Hansen Dam and the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds suddenly became home to hundreds of horses as well as goats, llamas, cows, and pigs fleeing the fires. Small animals including dogs, cats and rabbits also found shelter.
According to Mary Lukins who works with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, “The LACDACCERT is a group of 115 dedicated horse owners who have volunteered to assist the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care Control with the safe evacuation and care of livestock. These specially trained Volunteers have been working around the clock since the Palos Verdes Fire on Friday. Over half of the ERT Volunteers do the actual evacuations, while the others work to take care of the animals once they have been evacuated to the Sheltering Sites. The ERT also works to educate horse owners on disaster preparedness.”
Thanks to the ERT volunteer’s efforts, including those of local veterinarians, the animals were bedded down, fed and cared for. All services at the three shelters were offered free of charge and will continue to be until the crisis is resolved. That meant a lot to many horse owners who were unsure if they had a ranch or home to return to because of the devastating fires.
More animals may continue to arrive as the fires spread. If you’re interested in supporting these efforts as the crisis continues, donations can be sent to:
Agoura Animal Shelter
29525 Agoura Rd
Agoura Hills CA 93012
RE: Equine Evacuation Donation
Checks can be made payable to L. A. Co. Agoura Animal Shelter