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Evacuees Make Some Tough Choices About Animals

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An evacuated horse at the Larimer County Fairgrounds (credit: CBS)

An evacuated horse at the Larimer County Fairgrounds (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – There have been some anxious moments for evacuees of the High Park Fire who own pets and livestock.

Pets the size of a goat or smaller can be taken to the Larimer Humane Society in Fort Collins. The Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland is being used as a safe haven for evacuated animals that are the size of a goat or larger.

“What woke us up was the smoke getting into the house,” evacuee Jesus Garcia said.

Garcia owns livestock and had to round up animals to get them to safety.

“It took a while. It started yesterday when the fire was going on we started getting ourselves planned up for what animals we’re going to start to take,” Garcia said.

Garcia and his wife Robyn Trasa knew they would have to start evacuating sooner rather than later if they wanted all their animals out safely.

“They’re valuable animals and actually we run basically a small farm,” Trasa said. “We make money on our animals, we need them.”

The couple has one horse, about 18 sheep, 60 to 70 rabbits, and 25 chickens. They unfortunately weren’t able to bring the chickens along.

“I really feel bad for them because it’s not a great way to go, in a fire,” Trasa said.

The couple is thankful to the American Red Cross that they and other evacuees have a place to host their animals.

The barn at the Larimer County Fairgrounds is full of many different types of animals, from horses to alpacas.

“Animals are like their kids; they are some of their kids and so they want to take care of them,” Janice Mount with the Red Cross said. “If they’re leaving it’s a very hard thing to do, is to leave without your animals. We had some families that came in that had to leave without their pets today, and that’s heartbreaking for them.”

evacuation map Evacuees Make Some Tough Choices About Animals

(credit: CBS)

While Garcia and Trasa figure out where they are going to stay, they found peace of mind knowing most of their animals are safe.

“Everything else is replaceable,” Trasa said.

Evacuees requiring assistance for their pets are encouraged to contact 970-226-3647 ext. 7 to speak with an Animal Protection and Control dispatcher. Visit: the Larimer Humane Society website for more information.

The organization also said they are in need of supplies and is accepting donations.

Also, some animals at the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary near Bellvue have been evacuated.

“We have evacuated some of the animals. The ones that remain have fire dens in their enclosures or their own natural dens. We are hopeful these will protect the wolves should it come to that,” the organization said in a statement on Facebook.

The Larimer Humane Society is providing temporary shelters for dogs, cats, small mammals and small farm animals — the size of a goat or smaller — for individuals affected or displaced by the High Park Fire. Horses and cattle can be taken to the Larimer County Fairgrounds directly adjacent to Interstate 25, just north of Highway 34, in Loveland. Evacuees requiring assistance for their pets are encouraged to contact 970-226-3647 ext. 7 to speak with an Animal Protection and Control dispatcher. Visit the Larimer Humane Society website for more information.

For those interested in helping out the Humane Society, monetary donations are preferred over donated food or items at this point, due to lack of storage to keep food and other donated items.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfire (Fourmile Fire) and largest wildfire (Hayman Fire) in Colorado history.

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