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How to Help Animals Affected by Northern California Wildfires

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The Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds evacuation center temporarily houses cows whose owners have evacuated in Petaluma, California on Oct. 10, 2017. (Audrey Garces/KQED)

An organized effort by Bay Area animal shelters, pet stores and animal-lovers is attempting to support pets and farm animals that have been displaced by the Northern California wildfires.  Several shelters are offering free supplies and emergency boarding at no cost, and they say they need as much help as they can get.

Two Facebook resource groups, Napa/Sonoma Fires Animal Evacuations and Solano County Horse/Livestock Fire Evacuation Help Page, have become resource hubs for donation information, volunteer recruitment and pet-owner reunification.

A dog, whose owner evacuated, receives free emergency boarding at the Marin Humane Society in Novato, California on Oct. 10, 2017.
A dog, whose owner evacuated, receives free emergency boarding at the Marin Humane Society in Novato, California on Oct. 10, 2017. (Audrey Garces/KQED)

Bay Area shelters are in need of fosters, volunteers and adoptions to clear more space for displaced animals.

As the Marin Humane Society tries to make room for animals from an evacuated shelter, Sonoma Pets Lifeline,  shelters in other areas of the bay area have been opening their doors to dogs and cats who were located at the north bay shelters prior to the fires.

San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control took in kittens from the Marin Humane Society last night, and they are waiving the fee for adoptions to encourage people to help clear space for more animals to be transferred to the shelter.

Cowboy and Kona stand with their evacuated owner at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, which has free dog food and supplies for those who need it in Petaluma, California on Oct. 10, 2017. (Audrey Garces/KQED)

Animal Evacuation Tips

“The best thing is for people to take their pets with them,” said Lisa Bloch, spokesperson for the Marin Humane Society. “But if they can't, certainly there's a lot of people out there to help. We want people to know we’re here to help you.”


It is also important to attach a form of identification to your dog or cat whether you keep your animal with you or bring it to a temporary shelter,  according to Bloch. A spreadsheet of people available to offer assistance has been posted on the Napa/Sonoma Fires Animal Evacuations Facebook page.

If you have time to prepare for evacuating with your pet, you can pack leashes, food and vet records. However, many evacuation sites and emergency boarding shelters have free supplies and will take in animals without medical records.

The Marin Humane Society has supplies and pet food available for free due to an abundance of donations. The shelter is offering two free weeks of boarding for any evacuees who are unable to take their pets with them.

A volunteer walks a horse receiving temporary boarding at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds evacuation center in Petaluma, California on Oct. 10, 2017. (Audrey Garces/KQED)

"Get the animals secure and join as many rescue sites as possible," wrote Jenny Mosher, an admin of the Napa/Sonoma Animal Evacuations Facebook page, in a Facebook message to KQED. "There are resources out there and people willing to do temporary fosters or hunt down evacuation sites that allow animals."

For larger animals like horses and livestock, there are several shelters available where they can stay, as well as volunteers willing to pick them up through a spreadsheet posted on the Solano County Horse/Livestock Fire Evacuation Help Page.

It is crucial to leave open any gates or fences and mark your animal with information using a luggage tag, said Liz J. Rogers, another admin of the Napa/Santa Rosa Animal Evacuations Page. If you have a horse, be sure to remove any halters or fly masks, which can possibly burn or get snagged.

Emus whose owners have evacuated are temporarily kept at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds evacuation center in Petaluma, California on Oct. 10, 2017. (Audrey Garces/KQED)

Lost Animals

If you lost an animal during the evacuation process, you can check local shelters’ social media pages. Many shelters, like the Sonoma Humane Society, have been updating their Facebook and Twitter pages with found pets, according to Bloch.

If you find an animal that is lost, you should keep it in the county in which it was found for the best chance for reunification with its owner, according to Bloch.

“A lot of times people with good intentions make the mistake of taking the animal to another county,” Bloch said. “They can go to the nearest animal shelter or veterinarian to scan them for a microchip. If they are staying in the area, is it also helpful if they can keep the animal with them for the time being.”

Julia Lamont, Social Media Coordinator at the Marin Humane Society, holds a chicken in the barn that is accepting small livestock in Novato, California on Oct. 10, 2017. (Audrey Garces/KQED)

Resource Lists

Shelters and stores all over the Bay Area are accepting donations for pets who have been displaced or are in need. Several shelters have already received an abundance of cat and dog food, but may have other specific requests. If possible, call ahead to see if any needs have changed.

Animal shelters available for emergency boarding:


  • The Sonoma County Fairgrounds
  • Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds
  • Vallejo Fairgrounds
  • South Bay Horse Ranch
  • Napa County Fairgrounds
  • Solano County Fairgrounds
  • SPCA Solano County

Small animals:

  • Marin Humane Society
  • Sonoma Humane Society
  • Napa County Animal Shelter
  • Mendocino County Animal Shelter
  • Second Chance Conure Rescue
  • Sonoma County Animal Services (also providing no-cost veterinary care to animals affected by the fire)
Donations for dogs, cats and livestock pile up at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds evacuation center in Petaluma, California on Oct. 10, 2017. (Audrey Garces/KQED)

Donation and Volunteer Opportunities:

North Bay:

  • Vallejo Fairgrounds: needs volunteers, feed for farm animals, wheelbarrows, hay carts, muck forks, shovels, shavings, first aid supplies
  • Milo Foundation: needs fosters
  • Marin Humane Society: needs financial donations to cover boarding costs
  • SPCA Solano County: needs food and supplies
  • Sonoma Humane Society: Amazon wishlist
  • Sonoma Hills Farm: needs volunteers
  • Western Ranch and Pet Supply
  • Sonoma County Animal Services: needs supplies
  • Solano County Fairgrounds: needs supplies
  • Clearlake Animal Control: needs fosters and volunteers

East Bay:

  • Rocket Dog Rescue: needs fosters and volunteers
  • Hopalong & Second Chance Animal Rescue: needs fosters
  • Contra Costa County Animal Services: accepting food and supplies
  • El Sobrante Feed

San Francisco:

  • Pet Food Express: accepting food and supplies
  • Bernal Beast: accepting food and supplies
  • Noe Valley Pet Company: accepting food and supplies
  • Jeffrey's Natural Pet Foods (both locations): accepting food and supplies
  • Wolf and Lion: accepting food and supplies

South Bay:

  • Silva’s Hay and Grain
  • All Animals Rescue Friends: accepting donations at the Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church
  • Santa Clara County Fairgrounds: accepting supplies for large and small animals

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