Animal News

More than 1,800 animals rescued from Caldor Fire

PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) – It’s not just tens of thousands of people who have been displaced by the Caldor Fire, more than a thousand animals left behind by fleeing families were also evacuated. 

Joanie Marinelli got the call to evacuate on Aug. 17.

“I had already loaded my horse and brought her somewhere safe. But we didn’t have time to bring the emu, and the seven chickens and the two goats with us,” Marinelli said. “My horse and my dog are really important to me, but my farm animals are equally important, but so it was hard to leave them. I didn’t know where to bring them.”

Animal rescue groups evacuated goats, pigs, cows and other farm animals from properties threatened by the Caldor Fire. 

Deborah Silcox with the North Valley Animal Disaster Group is one of more than 100 volunteers from different organizations supporting the large-scale operation. 

“You do what you can, as quickly as you can and as safely as you can to get them out,” Silcox said. “We help out wherever we can help out.”

El Dorado County Animal Services is overseeing the rescue and care of more than 1,800 animals across three counties.  

Mr. Larry Bird, an emu, and his flock of chickens are just some of the animals at South County Large Animal Shelter in Placerville.

“Everybody that is in animal services work loves animals,” said El Dorado County Animal Services Chief Henry Brzezinski. “You know, we want to help, we want to do whatever we can to make their lives easier.”

“It was like a huge boulder fell off my shoulder and my heart was at ease. I was just so relaxed, I knew they were in good hands,” Marinelli told FOX40.

Feeding, watering and making sure the animals are seen by a veterinarian is a hands-on job. 

“Just hearing the relief in their voice, knowing that at least they know their animals are safe and they can focus on what they’re doing, wherever they are,” Silcox explained.

For evacuees like Marinelli, it’s one less thing to worry about when worries are all you have.

“I’m happy knowing that they were in a safe place because I thought, well, the animals are safe,” Marinelli explained. “We can always build again, but you can’t really just buy another animal and hope that it fits in your world.”

El Dorado County Animal Services said they’re prepared to care for the animals at all their shelters for at least the next 60 days.