SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Alamo Fire has forced hundreds of people to evacuate, causing those people to temporarily find somewhere else to stay. Forcing them out has also forced them to find a place to keep their animals safe until they are allowed back in.
"We have four horses that were safely evacuated from the Alamo Fire and we will care for them and keep them safe until their owners are able to return home,” says Stacy Silva, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Animal Services.
The horses are staying at the Elks Unocal Event Center in Santa Maria.
The Santa Maria Animal Shelter is caring for these horses along with dogs, cats, and goats that were all displaced.
"The biggest challenge is to make sure all of the pets are comfortable,” says Silva.
She says when the fire started to pick up on Friday afternoon they went into activation mode. She says most of the animals came in on Saturday.
"We don’t want pets to be the reason people don’t evacuate,” she adds.
Evacuation orders remain in place as fire crews fight the Alamo Fire. Silva says she wants pet owners to know their animals are safe.
"We have an open door policy for our owners to come in and visit and be part of their care,” says Silva.
She says they will continue to take in pets that are in danger. She urges pet owners to leave when evacuation warnings go out.
Adding that it’s not a good idea to wait until the last minute to transport the animals.
"We know historically that pet owners won’t evacuate unless they know there is somewhere safe to take their animals,” she says.
For now, these animals will be staying at the Santa Maria Animal Shelter until it’s safe for everyone to go back home.
If a pet owner is in need of help they can call the shelter's hotline at 681-4332.