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October 3, 2023

Hundreds of evacuated animals held at Fairgrounds; room still available

WATSONVILLE—While the fire evacuation center at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds is reaching capacity for humans—only single cots and limited tent camping space are available—there is still room for pets and other animals.

Hundreds of animals have been evacuated to the fairgrounds since the CZU August Lightning Complex fires broke out last week. Kelly Souza of the Junior Fair Board said Monday that the fairgrounds will continue to accept everything from house cats to horses, geese to alpacas.

“We want people to know that they can still bring their animals to us… we have the space, food, supplies, everything,” Souza said.

The site on Tuesday morning still had space. Animals are separated by size; small farm animals such as goats and sheep are located toward the back horse show gate entrance; chickens, house cats and rabbits are in the small animal barns; horses are in the stables below the show arena.

Scores of volunteers have poured into the fairgrounds to help. On Tuesday they and the evacuated families were busy feeding, cleaning out stalls, milking goats and exercising horses.

Souza said to call 750-8001 for information on how to check your animal into the site. 

“Call us if you need somewhere safe for your animals while we wait this thing out,” she said.

Those in need of assistance evacuating their animals can call (831) 454-7200.

Johanna Miller
Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.

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