American Humane Rushes to Assist Animals Affected by Fires in San Diego

American Humane Association
Monday, 27 October 2003

American Humane has dispatched its Red Star Emergency Services to provide emergency relief for communities and animals affected by the Cedar Fire raging in San Diego County.

The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA requested American Humane's assistance with the ongoing rescue of thousands of animals, especially livestock and horses, that remain threatened by the fire.

American Humane is sending members of its team of National Responders who are experienced in fire rescue and large animal rescue. Last summer this team worked extensively in Arizona after two wildfires merged, resulting in the state's largest fire in history.

"Fire rescues are very demanding and dangerous, but our National Responders are well-trained and ready to assist in any way," says Jodi Buckman, American Humane's director of animal programs.

American Humane's National Responders will work in collaboration with several agencies, including the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, the San Diego County Department of Animal Services, Sheriff's Department, Houston SPCA, Code 3 Associates, Humane Society of the United States, the Inland Valley Humane Society, the Oregon Humane Society, and the Arizona Humane Society. The PETCO Foundation and PetSmart Charities are generously providing supplies to help care for rescued animals.

On-site since the Cedar Fire began Saturday, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA's specially trained Animal Rescue Reserve has helped rescue over 2,000 animals threatened by the fire and continues to coordinate the rescue of hundreds more.

"We greatly appreciate the support of our colleagues at American Humane who've responded so quickly to assist with this emergency," says Dr. Mark Goldstein, president of San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. "Their help and the collaborative efforts of so many local and national organizations will undoubtedly make a life-saving difference for the animals of our county. We are dedicated to providing as much support as possible to the animals threatened by this fire and our hearts go out to all the people and animals affected."

As the National Responders arrive to assist San Diego's local forces, American Humane urges California residents who are being asked to evacuate to make sure their animals are safe. "If it is unsafe for you to remain in your home, it is equally unsafe for your animals," says Buckman.

American Humane recommends people take the following precautions to avoid leaving livestock stranded and alone during a disaster:

  • Post emergency contact numbers at your barn or on your pasture fence.

  • Have sufficient transportation available for all your livestock or know where to obtain it. Train your livestock how to board the vehicles.

  • Create a list of neighbors within a 100-mile radius of your home who would be willing to board your livestock if you are forced to evacuate.

  • Form agreements with neighboring ranches and farms to help each other with disaster preparation and evacuations.

  • Know organizations in your area that are prepared to rescue and house displaced livestock.

  • Involve your family and neighbors in establishing an evacuation plan for animals in barns and outlying buildings.

  • Have a supply of feed at a separate location, which could be air-dropped if the animals become stranded.

  • Make up a kit with leads, halters, equine and bovine first aid kits, quieting hoods for easy transport, and water.

  • Keep photos and a copy of your ownership papers or brands with you at all times in case you are separated from your livestock.

Click here or call (866) 242-1877 to find out how you can help American Humane's Red Star Emergency Services save animal victims of disasters.

For information on how you can support the San Diego Humane Society, please visit or call (619) 299-7012 extension 2245.

For more information, or to contact American Humane Association, see their website at:

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