American Humane Completes Animal Rescue Work in San Diego, Moves to San Bernardino

American Humane Association
Friday, 31 October 2003

American Humane is concentrating its Red Star Emergency Services on providing emergency relief for animals in San Bernardino after a change in weather allowed rescue groups to make some headway on operations in San Diego County.

On Wednesday, October 29, American Humane dispatched a team of National Responders to San Bernardino after receiving a request for immediate assistance from San Bernardino Animal Control.

The National Responders, experts in emergency animal rescue, are working with animal control officers to enter evacuated homes in search of animals. The team reports they have rescued 34 pets in the first day of operations, including cats, dogs, birds, and even a small lizard.

"Today, we are continuing to respond to over 200 owner-requested rescues. There are currently 13 teams at work and we feel confidant we will get to most, if not all, today," says National Responder Meredith Shields.

On Sunday, October 26, American Humane deployed a National Responder to San Diego after fires erupted, threatening thousands of animals, especially livestock and horses. National Responder John Maretti worked with the San Diego Department of Animal Services and the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, providing assistance with the ongoing rescue of animals in the line of fire.

Maretti, a firefighter from Chico, Calif., and a skilled rescuer, helped conduct assessments and evacuations for animals, mostly horses, threatened by the Paradise Fire.

"At one point we were in St. Ysabel, just outside of Julian, evacuating horses when the fire suddenly erupted and forced us to leave immediately. One of San Diego Animal Control's vehicles got "burned over", but thankfully nobody was hurt," says Maretti.

A much-needed change in weather allowed firefighters to get a handle on fires in San Diego. After completing assessments of the affected areas, San Diego Department of Animal Services, which had coordinated American Humane's efforts, concluded local organizations now had the situation under control.

Throughout the state, the fires have killed at least 20 people and injured dozens and devoured more than 2,700 homes, 30 businesses, and more than 700 other structures. More than 729,000 acres in five Southern California counties have burned since last week.

American Humane has been working 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, the Arizona Humane Society, and the San Bernardino Animal Control. The PETCO Foundation and PETsMART Charities are generously providing supplies to help care for rescued animals.

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

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

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