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In California, Animals Return Home as Caldor Fire Brought Under Control

For weeks, crews of firefighters and first responders have worked around the clock to battle the flames of the Caldor Fire. After grueling days and tense nights, the situation on the ground in Northern California is markedly better – some 50 percent of the fire is now contained and many families can return to their homes with their pets safely in tow.

When American Humane put boots on in the ground in El Dorado County, two weeks ago, there was a spike in demand for animal sheltering. At the El Dorado County Animal Shelter alone, nearly 600 small animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, parakeets, turtles, goats and chickens took shelter from the flames. That’s in addition to two other El Dorado County emergency shelters that handled large animal evacuees, such as horses and livestock. Today, the number of cats and dogs requiring services at this shelter has been halved.

As the worst days of the fire are, hopefully, behind us, the American Humane Rescue Team has assisted with reuniting animals with their owners as well as breaking down emergency kennels and decontaminating the equipment. Setting up emergency sheltering to handle a surge of animals is difficult work, and breaking down the equipment safely, so that it can be used for future disasters, is exhausting.

Mike McFarland, Chief Veterinary Officer at Zoetis, decontaminates crates used to store animals.

To assist in these efforts, the American Humane Rescue Team shifted its operation from the eastern side of the fire, in Nevada, to the western side of the fire, in Diamond Springs, California, where the team first deployed. The days are no less long, but American Humane’s animal first responders are taking heart in the knowledge that hundreds of animals were kept safe from harm and are being returned to their loving homes. Mike McFarland, Chief Veterinary Officer of Zoetis, deployed with American Humane to assist in the rescue efforts.

Mike McFarland with an incredibly happy pup.

As the demand for services is brought back under regular thresholds in El Dorado County, the American Humane Rescue Team continues to monitor animal needs across the country, with a close eye on the situation in Louisiana and a pray that the Caldor Fire remains under control.

As always, American Humane’s team is developing connections with these precious pets, providing food, water and a loving hand to every animal distressed by the devastating circumstances. Please if you are able, consider making an emergency gift at

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