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Caring for pets during wildfire evacuations

April 28, 2008 |  1:51 pm

Cat_fire

For the 1,000 people evacuated because of the fire raging in the hills near Sierra Madre, caring for pets can add a lot of extra stress.

As is often the case, local animal groups are offering helpful services. The Pasadena Humane Society, for one, is offering shelter for pets whose owners were evacuated because of the wildfire.

Here are some other tips for finding and caring for your animals during a wildfire:

If your pet was left behind or lost, visit or contact the local command center or disaster relief center to find out what agency is rescuing animals from your neighborhood. Normally, the county or city animal control agency will be responsible for retrieving stranded animals. Call (888) 738-7911 or visit Pets 911 to find the phone numbers and locations of animal shelters or agencies nearby.

If you cannot find your pet with the help of a local animal rescue agency, check the Petfinder.com Foundation website at http://petfinder.com/disaster. The site updates statistics and contact information for animal shelters and rescued pets....

* Remember to keep animals fed and hydrated. They can suffer from smoke inhalation too. Cats and smaller dogs usually have sensitive respiratory systems, so they may need medical attention if they are coughing irregularly.

* Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered, and your pet may become confused and lost.

* Keep calm if a pet's behavior changes for a bit after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive.

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: Eric Draper/AP

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