ASPCA Responders Help Animals Displaced by Devastating "Dog Head Fire" in New Mexico

ASPCA Field Investigations & Response team assists local agencies in sheltering hundreds of evacuated animals
June 22, 2016

Albuquerque, N.M.—At the request of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) arrived in Albuquerque on Monday to help shelter and care for the nearly 500 animals displaced by the devastating “Dog Head Fire” in New Mexico’s Manzano Mountains.

Hundreds of evacuated animals are being cared for at three locations in Bernalillo and Torrance County: Los Vecinos Community Center; Bernalillo County Animal Shelter; and Torrance County Estancia Emergency Animal Shelter. ASPCA responders have been dispatched to all three locations to support local agencies with shelter operations and daily care.

The fire, which began June 14, has ravaged nearly 18,000 acres, destroying dozens of homes and forcing thousands to evacuate. As of Tuesday, local authorities began to lift some evacuation orders, allowing residents and their pets and return to their homes in certain areas.

“As evacuation orders ease, we’re seeing more and more people come in to pick up their pets and return home,” said Dr. Dick Green, senior director of ASPCA Disaster Response. “Our hope is that this continues as the fire dies down and that all these animals can be reunited with their owners soon. This fire has been nightmarish for the families in its path—we’re glad we could provide some relief for evacuees by caring for their animals during this traumatic time.”

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team frequently responds to wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters around the country, including the 2015 fires in Lake County, Calif., Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the Joplin, Mo. tornado in 2011.

The ASPCA has created a mobile app that allows users to store critical pet records required to board pets at evacuation shelters, provides customized steps to search for lost pets, and includes a check-list of actions to take before, during and after a disaster. Additional disaster preparedness tips for pet owners can be found at