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As thousands of Malibu residents fled the Woolsey Fire, gears were quickly put into motion to help those in need — among them many hooved, feathered and four-legged inhabitants.
That’s where organizations such as the Humane Society of Ventura County and the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control came in. Combined, volunteers from the two groups aided more than 1,000 animals displaced by local fires, with many of those animals hailing from Malibu.
Greg Cooper, director of community outreach at the Humane Society of Ventura County, said his organization saw a surge of more than 150 volunteers looking to help in the face of the devastating events, helping round out the humane society’s lean staff of 22 individuals. The emergency services line was opened at the Nov. 8 start of the Hill Fire, and the calls continued to come in as Woolsey spread far and wide, with many owners requesting trailers and well-being checks for the pets they were not able to take with them.
As of Nov. 14, 226 animals were at the Humane Society of Ventura County’s Ojai facility. Though Malibu is within LA County, Cooper said the organization helps all the animals that it has the capacity for.
“Our pledge is we will keep them on our property until the owners are ready to collect them,” Cooper explained.
Beyond just providing shelter, the organization is able to provide veterinary care, as needed.
LA County DACC, assisted by about 400 volunteers, aided at animal sheltering sites such as Pierce College, Hansen Dam and the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds while also staffing mobile animal shelters at Taft High School and Borchard Park.
The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works also worked to provide food and water to animals still in evacuation areas, DACC stated in a Nov. 14 press release, and the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, The ASPCA, Riverside County Animal Services, and volunteers from The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Equine Response Team provided operational support to DACC.
Both the Humane Society of Ventura County and the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control saw an outpouring of support.
For DACC, partners including Annenberg PetSpace, PetCo, Chewy offered donations.
HSVC saw an influx of supply donations, so much so that Cooper said their supplies are taken care of for the short and medium term. Actress Sandra Bullock also donated $100,000 to the HSVC.
Donations to HSVC — which go to its general fund and contribute to short- and long-term care of animals it takes in — can be made to www.hsvc.org.
Donations to the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control can be made an animal emergency disaster response fund managed by the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation at lacountyanimals.org.