California Fires: Not all Equine Evacuations According to Plan

Although the Los Angeles Department Animal Care and Control and the Equine Response Team coordinated to help as many horse owners as possible with evacuations, the fire moved too quickly to allow them to reach everyone. With high winds spurring on the flames, some owners were forced to escape with their horses on foot until help could arrive.

Erica Pollack, who keeps her horse at Ranch at the Falls in Chatsworth, left work to help when she heard they were evacuating. She was held up by a police barricade and was not allowed to enter the gated community where her barn was located. She assisted with pulling horses out of nearby Stoney Point Riding Center until she received word that a truck and trailer were being allowed down her road and she hitched a ride.

"We entered the gates and drove for a little bit, and then I saw someone holding my horse," she said. "I was so relieved, I can't even describe it. I continued into my barn and grabbed two horses that were still in the arena with the sprinklers on. I walked them down the hill and waited for nearly two hours before trailers were allowed to come in and collect them."

Pollack's group was turned away from Pierce College because it was full, but found refuge at a nearby private facility. She and her horse are now home.

"Had others and I not jumped into that truck, we would have had no help up there," Pollack reflected. "It was finally an amazing group of horsemen and women from Shadow Hills who came in to get our horses out."

Read more about equine evacuations.

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Jennifer Walker

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