Most animals displaced by Valley fire have found homes

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Most of the adoptable dogs and cats rescued from some 76,067 charred acres in southern Lake County and housed at its animal shelter have either been reunited with their owners or adopted.

This fall’s Valley fire — one of the most destructive in state history — destroyed almost 1,300 homes and killed four people and dozens of farm animals and pets.

Most of the 11 cats and three dogs that remained in the county shelter on Friday were expected to be taken by other animal rescue organizations that will take over efforts to find homes for the animals, said Lake County Animal Care and Control Director Bill Davidson.

The local SPCA is taking at least 10 of the cats, most of which are not socialized.

“They’re what we refer to as community cats,” Davidson said. They likely were fed by area residents but are not fully domesticated. They’re “not exactly lap cats,” he said.

Two of the three dogs — all pit bulls — are going to Calistoga-based Wine Country Animal Lovers, Davidson said.

“Worst-case scenario, we’ll have one cat and one dog left” by Tuesday, he said.

That’s a vast reduction from some 400 animals — including horses, chickens and emus — the facility housed during the first weeks of the Valley fire in September.

Other animals were rescued and cared for by individuals and private animal rescue groups from near and far.

In all, Lake County animal control workers and other animal rescue agencies assisted almost 3,400 critters during the fire, which erupted in the Cobb Mountain area Sept. 12. That included moving animals away from the fire zone, taking injured ones to veterinary hospitals and taking food and water to livestock in safe locations.

It’s unclear how many animals remain in private foster care while homes are sought. The fire was fully contained on Oct. 6.

As part of an effort to ensure that all the animals that survived find homes, whether as house pets or, in the case of some cats, as barn mousers, adoption fees have been waived. However, if an animal isn’t neutered, the adopter must pay for that service.

“I’ve made a commitment that every fire animal will have a home,” Davidson said.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@pressdemocrat.com.

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