DAVIS (CBS13) – It’s been two months since the massive wildfires in Calaveras and Lake Counties, and some injured animals are still being treated at the UC Davis Veterinarian Hospital.
But now some of those pets whose owners could not be found are finding new homes.
Wilbur, a 500-pound pig, is among the animals rescued from the flames of this summer’s devastating wildfires.
Staff is nursing him, and other animals that have severe burns, back to health.
Vets at UC Davis have treated more than 40 four-legged fire victims – and all but Wilbur and two goats have been well enough to go home.
“We were able to identify numerous owners and reunite them,” said Dr. Steven Epstein with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
But in cases where owners were unknown, those providing the care just couldn’t let go.
“All of our cats that were in foster were ultimately adopted by a staff member,” Epstein said.
Dr. Epstein says the vet school’s wildfire response was an unprecedented undertaking.
“It’s very unusual for us to see animals that have burns in them. We might see one to two fire victims at most a year, so seeing 40 cats in a short period is a massive influx,” Epstein said.
Veterinary professors are making the most of the tragedy.
“It was definitely a teaching experience,” Epstein said. “For us, it was good to learn how we can mobilize a large number of people to deal with a huge number of cases, and [it] allowed us to get protocols in place for future disasters.”
And thanks to donations, the vet hospital has been able to cover the complete cost of the each animal’s care.
“There are none that have any lifelong damage that’s expected from this,” Epstein said.
About 100 UC Davis staff helped care for the animals.