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California County fairground houses displaced horses

Posted in Horse Racing News

The areas of California devastated by recent wildfires are the home not only of thousands of people, but thousands of animals as well. And animal welfare workers rallied to shelter as many as they could as the fires raged, the Modesto Bee reported, including at an abandoned horse racing facility.

Sonoma County, the most well-known county in California’s wine country, is home to more than 27,000 horses, mules and donkeys, the Bee reported, and ranchers in the area also raise sheep, llamas, goats and other animals.

Some people were able to relocate their animals before they had to evacuate, while some were left with the unfortunate task of going back home when it was safe and trying to find animals they had to leave behind.

Many animals displaced by the fires were housed at the Solano County Fairgrounds. Since the fairgrounds was the site of horse races until about 10 years ago, it had vacant stalls and animal housing facilities available. The county Office of Emergency Services welcomed the displaced livestock, some spray painted with phone numbers in case they got lost, providing them refuge until it was safe to return home.   

Rescue groups from the SPCA, government agencies and the University of California Davis Veterinary Medical Center, stepped in to search for animals and tend to the injured. Facebook pages were set up to help reunite missing pets with their people.

Many veterinarians, veterinary technicians and other volunteers donated their time to take care of the stressed and sometimes injured animals, and several organizations donated feed and other supplies.

Sonoma County Animal Services was working to reunite animals separated from  their owners using the social-media hashtags #tubbsfire and #LOSTPETSsonomacountyfire2017.

The agency also is seeking donations to care for animals affected by the fires, as is the UC Davis veterinary teaching hospital Veterinary Catastrophic Need Fund.

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