San Bruno Fire Animal Victims
I've received so many calls and emails from people wanting to know about, and often wanting to offer their help, for the animal victims caught up in the San Bruno firestorm. I thought I'd use this forum to help get folks up to speed.
As the animal welfare organization located in San Mateo County, the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA has responded to the crisis in San Bruno, mobilizing staff in San Bruno who are coordinating rescue and recovery efforts with staff at our shelter, located at 12 Airport Boulevard in San Mateo. Like most major humane organizations, we are counted as emergency responders by local government, we have the memos of understanding in place with the Red Cross, and we are a part of the formal emergency response system.
PHS/SPCA staff have been present all day at the Veterans Memorial Rec Center in San Bruno to assist impacted residents; we've taken Lost Animal reports, and spoken with people who evacuated their homes and had to leave pets behind.
PHS/SPCA Humane Officers have been searching evacuated homes throughout the day to locate/secure pets and reunite them with owners at the Veterans Memorial Center or transport them to the shelter on Airport Blvd. A number of transferred pets have already been claimed by owners. We have taken in 17 pets as of 3 pm today and expect to receive more, perhaps many more, as the situation goes on.
We've transferred a number of animals who had been available for adoption well before the gas explosion to a few other Bay Area shelters in order to free kennel space; at least at this early stage of things, we feel it's in everyone's best interests if the animals are all here under one roof and under the care of our veterinary medicine and animal behavior teams. We have received multiple offers for mutual aid from shelters, animal welfare and rescue groups in the Bay Area; in fact, both San Francisco Animal Care and Control and the Marin Humane Society were in touch with us before many of the public were even made aware of the situation on the Thursday night news reports.
Five pets were quickly reunited with owners after brief stays in our shelter.
We've recruited volunteer foster parents who are prepared to open their homes for displaced pets: we were overwhelmed with generous offers of this sort, and no longer need volunteer foster parents at this point.
At this point, we are seeking just two kinds of donations: donations of unopened dog and cat food (cans or bags, any brand) and monetary donations. Donated food can be dropped off at the shelter's Receiving Department any time of the day or night. PHS/SPCA will distribute donated food to displaced pet owners from San Bruno as needed. Wonderfully, Pet Food Express has opened its warehouse to feed the fire victim animals here in our care.
People looking for lost pets should visit PHS/SPCA in person at 12 Airport Blvd. The shelter is open 11 am to 7 pm M-F and 11 am to 6 pm on weekends.
People who find stray domestic animals or injured wildlife can bring them to PHS/SPCA, seven days/wk, 24/7.
PHS/SCPA is providing professional pet loss grief support for any San Bruno residents impacted by yesterday's tragic events. 650/340-7022, ext. 344 or Lreynolds@PHS-SPCA.org.
One last comment: Please, keep a good thought for all the victims of this horrible situation. This will not be over for a long, long time.
By Ken White, President of Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA