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Volunteers Provide Haven In Santa Barbara From Brush Fire For Menagerie Of More Than 1300 Animals

It took the Santa Barbara Zoo decades to put together its acclaimed collection of more than 500 animals. But, thanks to a massive brush fire, the Earl Warren Showgrounds became home to a menagerie of more than 1300 animals in less than a week.

Kathy O’Connor is President of the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation team. The non-profit is running an emergency shelter for animals in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties displaces by the Thomas brush fire.  It has everything from ducks and chickens to horses and even emus.

The shelter is staffed by dozens of volunteers The nonprofit was formed in the 1990’s, ironically inspired by another major brush fire, Santa Barbara County’s Painted Cave Fire.

O’Connor says they’ve worked closely with Santa Barbara County Animal Services to care for the displaced animals. And, she says the equine community around the country has rallied to support the effort in Santa Barbara County, with groups sending hay, pet food, and other items from Nevada, and financial contributions coming in from around the country.

Some of the displaced animals have already been able to go home, but there are still several hundred at the showgrounds, and the non-profit says it will keep the shelter in operation as long as needed.