VENTURA (CBSLA) — They are the other faces of the rescued: horses, cats, dogs and livestock.
Animals have their own dramatic stories of survival as the devastating Thomas Fire tears through city after city. It is still heading west to Summerland Wednesday night, only 30 percent contained.
At the Humane Society of Ventura County in Ojai, the full staff has worked at the Ventura County Fairgrounds 24-7 for the past week to either go out in the field and rescue animals in danger, or allow pet owners to drop off their horses, dogs and cats in a safe space.
“We said no to nobody. We never turned anybody away and I think that’s pretty impressive,” Greg Cooper said.
As the fires raged and evacuation orders were given, animals by the dozens were being rushed to the humane society. Also pouring in – donations.
“We’ve had a tremendous outpouring of support from the community, in many different forms – volunteering, but also supplies,” Cooper said.
In many cases owners of horses and other livestock had very little time to escape. Some of the stories of rescue are heartbreaking. One horse was found emaciated – likely abandoned before the fires – but was picked up and saved, now under the care of the humane society.
Staff members say each pet has a story and a family and they know importance of their job.
“To be able to reassure the families coming in. You can see it in their eyes and they can see it in our eyes. All of our employees working in the front desk or the kennel staff – we are animal lovers.”
At the Ojai location 300 animals were rescued and all free of charge.