Shelter Looks After Pets After Thousands Evacuate Butte County

YUBA CITY -- Thousands of people have lost their homes in the Camp Fire as well as their pets. A local shelter is making sure evacuated dogs are getting the care they need.

Susan Penrod says she barely made it out of Magalia alive.

"It looked like a black tornado to my south, which would be Paradise,” Penrod told FOX40.

Right by her side was her best friend, her dog Jake.

"When we reached the top of the incline to go down into Chico, the fire was there," Penrod said. "If we would have been stuck, we would have been burned alive. The whole thing was just frightening."

People evacuating the Camp Fire had just minutes to grab their belongings and their pets, however, many shelters in Butte County can’t accommodate pets. That's where the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds is stepping in.

"They don't know if they have a house. They don't know if their livestock is still there, but we can assure them that their dog or dogs are safe, being fed and walked and generally loved on,” said Gretchen Cupp with the Yuba-Sutter Domestic Animal Disaster Assistance.

Volunteers at the fairground are taking care of nearly 70 dogs and they've received countless donations from the community.

"They have brought everything a dog could possibly need, down to toys and sweaters. Treats galore," Cupp said.

Local veterinarians have also donated their time to give the dogs medical attention, a service Penrod's dog needed as soon as they arrived at the fairgrounds.

"When they have a panic attack, a dog can get what they call laryngeal spasm. He was within five minutes of dying and that vet here happened to be standing right there so she gave him a shot. That's why my animal is alive,” added Penrod.

She credits the volunteers for saving Jake's life, but organizers at the shelter say the dogs there provide a service of their own.

"They can come and see that their dogs are alright, comfort their dogs, their dogs comfort them. It's just a win-win scenario,” Cupp said.

The Yuba-Sutter Domestic Animal Disaster Assistance is always looking for new volunteers and donations. Right now, they're asking for people to drop off sponges and thick vinyl gloves to clean out the dog crates.