Fairview fire near Hemet forces some to leave animals behind – Daily News


Pushed out of their homes by the Fairview fire, residents had two choices: leave behind their animals or take them with them.

Mary Jo Ramirez, who runs the California Family Life Center, a home for girls between 3 and 18 who are in foster care, left her miniature horse and two goats after being evacuated from the facility near Hemet.

“On Monday, there was smoke in our area … we became concerned, so our staff evacuated our girls and we got them housed in another home,” Ramirez said Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The home, a ranch in the hills with therapy animals such as a miniature horse named Faith and two goats, was threatened by the nearly 10,000 acre blaze. The animals remain on the property, where Faith is covered in pink dust from the flame retardant used by firefighters, Ramirez said.

Some residents are not yet allowed into the fire area, but Ramirez said the Riverside County Animal Services is caring for her animals and others left behind.

While some residents raced to escape the fire, leaving their livestock, others took their pets with them but temporarily impounded them at the San Jacinto animal shelter.

Danielle Goodman and her family evacuated Monday, Sept. 5, loading her car with documents — and two cats and a dog.

When she met her family at Tahquitz High School, where the American Red Cross set up an evacuation center, Goodman placed the pets at the animal shelter.

The next day, the family returned to their house in the  McSweeny Farms community. By Tuesday afternoon, its pets were safely back home.

“They were well taken care of at the shelter,” Goodman said.

Some residents that chose to stay might have had concerns about their pets, Goodman said.

“I wish more people in the community knew there was more help for their pets,” she said.

On Monday night, Riverside County Animal Services reported in a news release that 12 dogs, six cats, and one rabbit had been impounded due to the evacuations.

As of Wednesday evening, there were 14 dogs, four cats and one rabbit impounded, said John Welsh, a spokesperson for the Department of Animal Services. Residents, including Goodman, have been reunited with their animals, he said.

Pet owners who need assistance with their pets can visit the county’s animal shelter in San Jacinto.

During the emergency, boarding fees are being waived. People can take pets to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, 581 S. Grand Ave.

Animal control officers are working with fire authorities to check for stray horses, provide water and food for horses, a potbellied pig and a herd of goats in the area, Welsh said. The agency has also transported two horses from the Sage area, he said.

The agency is making sure animals are fed and safe are trying to give owners “peace of mind,” he said.

“There are no reports of animals that have perished,” Welsh said.

Information: 951-358-7387 or [email protected]



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