Apple Valley, CA – August 18, 2016: While the Bluecut Fire raced toward the High Desert and Wrightwood areas, the staff and volunteers at the Town of Apple Valley Municipal Animal Shelter opened its doors to more than 400 displaced animals.
“Our primary purpose is to care for our community’s most vulnerable residents – our animals,” said Director of Animal Services Gina Whiteside. “We’ve taken in 302 dogs, 111 cats and 25 other animals such as lizards and guinea pigs that were evacuated due to the fire.”
Within 48 hours, the facility became a 24-hour hub of security and generosity with people from as far away as Orange County and beyond answering the call for donations of food, bowls, cat litter, cleaning supplies and much more.
“The community response has been overwhelming,” said Emergency Operations Center Coordinator Joseph Ramos. “Our stock room is near capacity, thanks to our big-hearted citizens.”
At this time, the shelter is accepting monetary donations only for the continued care of the animals. Financial contributions can be made in person, or by credit card by phone at (760) 240-7000 x7555, or via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To accommodate the influx of animals, an army of staff and volunteers worked through the night to construct emergency holding pens in the staff parking lot and along the interior courtyard of the shelter. Teams are now working in shifts to feed and water all of the animals, sanitize surfaces, change cat litter boxes and walk dogs. Adult volunteers will be needed for the next week or longer, especially for the late shift from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Call (760) 240-7000 x7555 to offer availability.
“These displaced pets will be loved and cared for until they are reunited with their families,” said Whiteside, who also dispelled the rumors that adoptable animals were being euthanized to make room for evacuated pets. “The community is always encouraged to come by and adopt an animal during normal business hours to give us more space for evacuated animals.”
Special temporary hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, August 20-22.
For more information on Apple Valley Animal Services please call (760) 240-7000, x 7555 or visit www.AVAnimals.org. The Town of Apple Valley Facebook page also features live videos of the operation.