FRENCH CAMP, Calif — When a wildfire strikes, hundreds, if not thousands, of beloved pets and animals are often left to fend for themselves as frantic homeowners escape with their lives.
Now, the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office has a new weapon when it comes to natural disasters. It's a Conex-style storage container the county obtained through a state grant.
"Inside this box are supplies for our emergency animal services" Deputy Andrea Lopez explained. "There are disposal plates, disposable bowls, leashes, name tags for dogs, cats, horses and kitty litter."
Whether it's a wildfire, earthquake, flood or any other natural disaster, the container can be deployed at a moment's notice and assist in animal rescue.
Also inside, nearly 150 cages that can be assembled.
"When the pets scatter, at least we have a location that we can set up away from danger," Lopez said. "And also, it sometimes overcrowds our facilities."
The catch? The container can only be used when Gov. Gavin Newsom declares a state of emergency.
As for sharing with neighboring counties if they get hit with disaster, Lopez said that's dependent on the situation.
"You know what, we would love to share with anybody," Lopez said. "But right now, we're going to make sure that our county pets are taken care of, and then we can extend it to outside agencies."
Follow the conversation on Facebook with Kurt Rivera.
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