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Pet owners cope with losses

David Bunker, Nevada Appeal News Service

Tony Colombo and Tara Brennan spent Monday night in the Tahoe Valley Lodge surrounded by their three dogs, two cats and a talking Macaw.

With their Mount Olympia Circle home reduced to cinders, and their green-eyed Persian cat lost in the wildfire, the couple headed straight to the El Dorado County Animal Shelter on Tuesday morning to look for their missing feline.

“I don’t know if it looks good,” said Brennan, after entering her cat’s information at the shelter.



“Twenty-four homes out of a street with 26 homes were destroyed, but most people got their animals out,” said Brennan of her neighborhood. “But that is about all they could do. We have the animals and the clothes on our back, and that’s it.”

In the Angora Fire that has burned entire streets of homes, many of the fire evacuees are now scrambling to locate their missing animals or find the bare necessities for their animals.




El Dorado County Animal Control Lt. Robert Gerat has overseen a group of workers that has motored in and out of the burn area attempting to save animals.

“Some of the houses were not there anymore,” said Gerat. “So we had to break the news to the homeowners.”

But for all of the bad news, some bright spots have emerged.

Animal control workers headed to Mount Olympia Circle to rescue a cat.

Between two charred homes stood one intact house. Inside the garage, the workers were able to save a stranded feline.

Other empty homes had evidence that the animals may have survived.

“At some houses we went to, the screens were pushed out,” said Gerat. “So there are probably strays.”

Outside the county shelter in Meyers, where a couple of chickens, doves, parakeets and Huskies were dropped off by evacuees, Gerat explains that his employees are still bringing in food and water to neighborhoods blocked off from the public.

The Lake Tahoe Humane Society has been a hub for emergency pet supplies and donations.

“The public is responding just wonderfully,” said Dawn Armstrong, the society’s executive director.

The society is still looking for donations of brand-name cat and dog food, cat litter, and litter pans.

“If we don’t have what they need, we’ll get it,” said Armstrong.

Other groups, including the nonprofit Noah’s Wish and Incline Village’s Pet Network, have also pitched in with help. Noah’s Wish has been housing dozens of pets along with the Sierra Veterinary Hospital and Four Paws Grooming and Boarding, but may leave the area soon.

“We have to make sure that none of these critters fall through the cracks,” said Armstrong.

Where to get help

El Dorado County Animal Shelter 1120 Shakori Drive off of Highway 89 in Meyers. (530) 577-1766.

If your pet is missing from the Angora Fire or you have found a stray pet, the county animal shelter is the place to go. Owners of missing pets may drop off information about their missing animal. Owners of homes that are in the burn area and need someone to check on their pets’ well-being, may also call the county shelter.

Lake Tahoe Humane Society 1221 Emerald Bay Road, behind Snowshoe Thompson Ski Rental between D and E streets at the “Y.” (530) 542-2857

The Humane Society is giving out emergency food and pet supplies. Donations are being accepted.


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