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Camp Fire emergency animal shelter housing hundreds of pets closes in Butte County

A dog being housed at the emergency animal shelter in Oroville gets play time with a member of the California National Guard.

After two months, Butte County is closing the doors of their emergency animal shelter that was set up after the Camp Fire. On Friday, January 4, the county says they started to phase animals out.

The two emergency animal shelters run by Butte County included:

  • Oroville: Small Animal Shelter | Old County Hospital at 2279 Del Oro, in Oroville, CA
  • Gridley: Large Animal Shelter | Butte County Fairgrounds at 199 E. Hazel Street, in Gridley CA.

"During the fire and at the high point there was approximately 2,000 animals that were being sheltered in emergency shelters so we're down to 600 now," said Callie Lutz, a Public Information Officer for Butte County a week ahead of the closure date. "The emergency shelter isn't meant to be a long-term housing place," Lutz added.

Butte County has been working with families to come up with solutions for their animals and household pets for several weeks. January 4, was a target date for the closure of the emergency animal shelter and Butte County is following through with it.

The county worked with each owner to find what was best for them during this difficult time. Some options included fostering their animal, boarding it or surrendering it. Michelle Coya, who had several animals staying at the emergency shelter in Oroville, chose to pick up her animals from the shelter and put them in foster care until she finds a more permanent housing solution since losing her home to the Camp Fire.

"My pets are a part of our family and I can remember many nights crying just not having them," Coya says. "We had our house taken away and then we had to make a decision on what we do with the pets," says Coya. "I had a very nice lady by the name of Lisa help me find a foster family so that I can take these guys to them until we are able to secure some housing," Coya says.

However, Butte County says that they have not been able to get in touch with several owners, leaving it up to them as to what to do with the animals that have owners that aren't getting in touch. For weeks they say they've tried calling, texting, emailing and reaching out to owners on social media in hopes of finding solutions for the displaced animals that were dropped off at their shelter. Butte County says these animals will be transitioned to other local shelters if they are unclaimed and solutions can't be found with the owner. From there they will be held for 14 days before being put up for adoption.

If you are interested in viewing a list of adoptable Camp Fire animals, you can click here.

Butte County says that Butte County Animal Control does not euthanize any animals. They say once the animals who aren't picked up are transitioned to other shelters, it is out of their hands what happens to them. However, the county says they are confident that none of the animals will be euthanized, including the feral cats.

"There would be no reason to euthanize any of the Camp Fire animals. There are so many people interested in adoption that I have all the confidence that every single animal that leaves this shelter that does not have an owner or an owner that we cannot contact will have a successful adoption," says Lisa Almaguer, Public Information Officer for Butte County Public Health.

The emergency shelters are not officially closed as they are still cleaning up and phasing animals out. However, the shelter will be closed in the near future as soon as all the animals are either picked up by their owners or transitioned to nearby local shelters.

If you have any questions about the emergency animal shelters or Camp Fire animals, you can click here to visit the Butte County rescued animals resources tab.

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