It was eerily calm in the Ojai Valley this morning... most people are going about their daily business despite the fact that Ventura County has had two fires in two days, each impacting thousands of residents and their animals. The Humane Society of Ventura County would also like to have an appearance of normality, but our Shelter in Ojai was staffed 24/7 opening our doors and hearts to those evacuated.
On Wednesday, during the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, the HSVC took in 35 evacuated horses, many of which have already returned home. We used Thursday to recover from the rapid influx of animals; and just as the Shelter was closing for the day, the Maria Fire broke out between Santa Paula and Somis. Many of our staff had gone home for the night and without hesitation, reported right back to work to assist with the new round of evacuations.
The fire broke out just after 6 PM, our phone started ringing shortly after that. The first animals started coming in later that night and didn’t stop until after 3 AM. All told, we took in an additional eight horses, four chickens, and 119 sheep and goats – all evacuated in advance of the rapidly moving fire.
For three years straight, the Humane Society of Ventura County has played a dual role in our community; to offer disaster relief to those impacted by natural disasters and to be the community animal shelter and adoption center.
If your evacuated animals are here, they are in good hands. If you have been evacuated and need a place to shelter your pets in the short- or long-term, give us a call to make arrangements at 805-646-6505. If you are looking to adopt one of our animals or if you have questions about the multitude of other regular services, give us a call. Visit hsvc.org for updates on both our disaster relief or if you have questions about some of the animals we have available.
We do have one request, however, please be patient when you do call or stop by, the same staff answering your questions and offering assistance are mostly the same staff that has been answering your calls all night.
-Greg Cooper, Director of Community Outreach
Pictured: Veterinary Assistant, Christina Malleck, and Kennel Attendant, Shay Stewlow, who have both been here since the Maria Fire broke out last night, take a moment to comfort curious goats while they clean out their pens.