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Photos: Animal Control officers comfort rescue rabbits; dogs rescued from Border Fire

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - County animal control officers have carried out dozens of rescues of animals threatened by the Border Fire including everything from dogs and cats to sheep, horses and chickens. View video of rescue efforts: . If you have animals left behind in the evacuation area that need food and water, call the county’s 24-hour emergency dispatch unit at 619-236-2341. 

Their work is at times hazardous – and not just from the fire. Yesterday the department reported on Twitter, “One of our Animal Control Officers found a burnt emu only to be threatened by the property owner and then shot at three times.” The officer was unharmed and Sheriff’s officials later arrested the suspect.

Some residents have posted concerns on social media sites that emergency shelter information provided by county officials and CAL FIRE has at times not stated whether the shelters will allow pets or livestock, or whether any food is available there for animals. 

Yesterday an evacuation site for large animals quickly filled up.  Ranchers and other nearby community members stepped up to the plate to help, posting information on social media sites about people willing to take in large animals as well as pets.  Here are some local community online sites to check for updates on this and other news in the impacted communities:

Rural East County Voice:

Descanso Neighbors:

Campo and Lake Morena Neighbors

Border Fire:

Brush Fire Partyline East County:

In addition, Cal Fire offers this very helpful list of tips to protect your pets and livestock including preparing in case of evacuation, and what to do if you must leave animals behind when you evacuate. In addition to the tips they provide, we also recommend leaving a note on the door for firefighters in large print informing them if there are animals inside your home and which rooms they are located in.

 Some of the most important tips including having vaccination, medical records, registration papers and photos of your pets, and an emergency kit for each animal including pet carrier, 2 weeks supply of food and water, non-spill food and water bowls, any medication and first aid items, leashes/collars/harnesses and more.

If you leave animals, provide enough water and food for several days. Do NOT rely on automatic water systems since power may be lost.  Animals left inside can be left with a bathtub or large container filled with water.  For outdoor animals, never leave them chained, so that firefighters can quickly free them if necessary if a fire is encroaching.

Sign up for free East County Wlidfire and Emergency Alerts via e-mail  at the top right side of our homepage and also receive a free weekly copy of our newsletter. You can also follow EastCountyAlert on Twitter for brief text alerts on your mobile phone. We recommend all of the above since some communications means may fail during a major regional emergency.  You can also watch for updates at

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