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Rescuing Pets From Bastrop Wildfire

Animal control officers from Bastrop and Austin went into the evacuated areas of Bastrop yesterday and began recovering animals that had been left behind by their owners.

In some cases, people couldn't get to their pets if the evacuation zone was sealed off before residents could return home.  The video above was produced by the Austin Humane Society (AHS) and posted to its YouTube channel.

The AHS says two animals are being treated in Austin, including a cat for minor burns. You can see an AHS picture the cat's paw here. Another pet is receiving intensive care at an emergency animal hospital.

“So far we are seeing a lot of burned and tender pads and some are showing signs of upper respiratory distress and lethargy (smoke inhalation could attribute to this), "AHS Chief Veterinarian Dr. Katie Luke said in a press release.  "Most of the animals are also dirty with ash and smell very strongly of fire."

Here's Dr. Luke examining a dog. Photo courtesy AHS.

The AHS says it's closing today so that it can care for the animals returning from the Bastrop fire.

Here's the full press release from AHS:

SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS RECOVER INJURED ANIMALS FROM BASTROP FIRES ANIMALS TAKEN TO AUSTIN HUMANE SOCIETY AND EMERGENCY ROOMS FOR TREATMENT September 7, 2011 (Austin, TX).  Today, Bastrop Animal Control and Emergency personnel, along with City of Austin Animal Control Officers, began recovering animals from evacuated, fire damaged areas in Bastrop. Texas A&M University brought a veterinary team to work on site in Bastrop and is providing triage support for the recovered pets.  Animals requiring medical care will be brought to Austin. “Injured animals that need further medical care will come to the Austin Humane Society (AHS) or one of our partner emergency veterinary partners,” says Frances Jonon, AHS Executive Director, “depending on the severity of their injuries.” “So far we are seeing a lot of burned and tender pads and some are showing signs of upper respiratory distress and lethargy (smoke inhalation could attribute to this). Most of the animals are also dirty with ash and smell very strongly of fire,” says Dr. Luke, AHS Chief Veterinarian, “we have sent two of the animals who needed more intensive care to our partner vets at the emergency veterinary hospital.” Today was the first day that search and rescue teams were allowed in to the affected areas. The search team will resume tomorrow morning. So far this evening, the AHS has received a half dozen injured dogs and cats, more are expected tonight and many more are expected tomorrow. Jonon continues, “Our Emergency Pet Shelter is ready to care for these injured animals. We’ve heard from a lot of families that were unable to retrieve their pets due to evacuation road closures and we are hopeful that a great number of pets will be rescued and reunited with their families soon.” Cat and dog hospital wards have been set up within the shelter, so they can be closely monitored and receive necessary medical treatment. *Updates will be sent as soon as we have our final figures for tonight. Media is welcome at the shelter tomorrow for interviews with veterinarian and key staff, photos of animals. About the Austin Humane Society The Austin Humane Society (AHS) offers comprehensive, humane, life-saving animal services, transforming the lives of animals and those who love them.  Because we believe homeless animals deserve a chance to thrive in a loving environment, we offer innovative, nationally recognized programs that save the lives of thousands of dogs and cats each year.  AHS’ approach to addressing animal homelessness encompasses both finding animals homes through adoption as well as preventing future homelessness through spay/neuter programs.

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