As the Camp Fire ripped through Northern California this November, killing at least 88 people, destroying 14,000 homes and charring over 153,000 acres, San Diego Humane Society’s Emergency Response Team rushed to the front lines to help the hundreds of animals that had been injured or displaced.
Danee Cook, SDHS’s Captain of Humane Law Enforcement, says their mission was “to provide some much-needed relief to the responders that have been going flat out for days.”
The team’s six FEMA-trained Humane Law Enforcement officers arrived in Butte County November 16, just over a week after the destructive wildfire began spreading. They hit the ground running. The very next day they were tasked with conducting animal welfare checks at more than 40 residences in the cities of Paradise and Chico. In addition to tending to dogs, cats, horses, sheep, turtles and chickens, officers also staffed a temporary shelter for small animals.
“They have been subjected to heavy smoke, flames, sirens, a lot of noise and a lot of chaos,” Cook says.
The Emergency Response Team’s sole purpose is to act during times of tragedy to ensure the animals, many who have experienced unspeakable trauma, receive the best of care. It’s the least SDHS can do to provide relief to those who have lost everything—the last thing they should have to worry about is their pet.