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Gareth Kelly

A Safe Place for Evacuated Animals

Hundreds of Pets Checked In at S.B. Humane Society Headquarters


Since the Thomas Fire showed up in Santa Barbara County on December 10 — jumping Highway 150 and landing in the farmlands and ranches north of Carpinteria — the Santa Barbara Humane Society has been in full swing, above and beyond its normal mission, to find homes for adoptable pets. Last week, on top of its typical population, the facility provided temporary shelter for nearly 769 evacuated animals — cats, dogs, chickens, pheasants, geese, tortoises, and hundreds of exotic birds, among other pets.

Jeannie Vaughn was forced to evacuate from Montecito, and she took all her feathered friends with her. “I am so grateful to the Humane Society,” she said. “They worked with Animal Services and gave me this nice, big room for all my birds.” A beautiful military macaw named Princess along with doves, canaries, and another macaw named Tangerine are making the best of their new home.

By Paul Wellman

“Some of these crates are dog crates and had dogs in them the other day. We helped them move the dogs to another part of the property, and now all my birds have their own crates,” Vaughn added. Pet owners unable to evacuate their animals can get help from County Animal Services, which has an emergency hotline: (805) 681-4332.

Many animals boarded at the facility started heading home earlier this week as incident commanders started lifting evacuations. But it’s never too soon for the next one, reminded Clair Lofthouse, the Humane Society’s public relations manager. Do not leave your pets behind, she said. “If it isn’t safe for you, it’s not safe for them.”

For more information about adoptions, boarding, the clinic, and other services at the Santa Barbara Humane Society, visit its website or call (805) 964-4777.

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