Service Suspends on Morning of Aug. 15
Riverside County Animal Services will continue the Holy Fire pet transports through Wednesday morning (Aug. 15).
More than 180 pets received care by Animal Services’ employees during a mandatory evacuation period of a fire that has, so far, burned roughly 23,000 acres in Orange and Riverside counties.
A suspected arsonist started the fire on Aug. 6 in the Holy Jim Canyon area of Orange County. One day later authorities started issuing voluntary evacuation notices for many neighborhoods in Temescal Canyon and Lake Elsinore. Those notices eventually resulted in mandatory evacuation warnings.
Pet owners received assistance from Animal Friends of the Valleys at the Southwest Communities shelter in Wildomar and the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus in San Jacinto. Board and care fees were waived for Holy Fire evacuees. The two organizations combined to help roughly 400 pets during the peak moments of the incident.
Recognizing the distance between evacuees’ homes and the county’s San Jacinto location was a good haul, Animal Services Director Robert Miller offered pet owners the option to have their pets transported back to the original drop-off location at Temescal Canyon High by county officers and other staffers.
Now that mandatory evacuations have been lifted for most areas, Animal Services will suspend the transport service on Wednesday at approximately 10 a.m. The department is caring for about 40 pets and employees continue to contact pet owners today. The employees are asking pet owners whether they would like the animal transported or if the owner prefers to redeem their pets themselves.
“We heard some positive comments from pet owners during this incident about our transport service,”Miller said. “That made all the effort worth it. We had hoped it would provide pet owners some peace of mind and some convenience during a high-stress event. And we’re feeling confident that we achieved those goals.”