Berkeley animal shelters take in pets from the North Bay

This adoptable cat is one of many taken in by Berkeley Animal Care Services to help with the North Bay fire relief effort. Photo: Berkeley Animal Care Services

Another way to help bring relief to the North Bay from Berkeley: Welcome one of the furriest fire victims into your home. Two Berkeley shelters have taken in animals displaced by the tragedy in wine country, and have put several of them up for adoption already.

The city of Berkeley’s shelter, Berkeley Animal Care Services, has 13 animals from Sonoma County and eight from Mendocino, said director Amelia Funghi. The cats, dog and rabbits were living in shelters there, but came down to the East Bay last week to make room for an influx of evacuated and stray pets.

Several are ready to be adopted, and a few will be transported again to shelters in Oregon, where there is greater capacity. Some of the animals are becoming quite the jet-setters, having first made their way to the North Bay after fleeing Hurricane Irma in Florida.

The Berkeley shelter, which takes in animals from Albany, El Cerrito and Piedmont as well, is waiving the usual adoption fee for the new pets, at least through the end of the week.


“We really want people to come down and adopt right now,” Funghi said. “The need continues.”

The public shelter is one of several in the area helping with a relief effort coordinated by the East Bay SPCA in Oakland.

Berkeley Humane has also welcomed 15 cats from the North Bay, including one “fire animal” that belonged to an evacuee, said spokesman Thomas Altherr. The animals came from Marin Humane, which had to clear out its current residents to make room for animals escaping danger in Sonoma.

One of the North Bay cats up for adoption at the city of Berkeley shelter. Photo: Berkeley Animal Care Services

“Our hearts go out to the thousands of families who have lost their homes — and we all seem to know someone,” said Jeffrey Zerwekh, Berkeley Humane executive director, in a press release. “With uncontrolled fires still raging, it is impossible to know the extent of the loss of life to humans and animals.” (See what was on fire as of Monday. Crews have made progress on containment, though the Northern California death toll has risen to 41.)

Berkeley Humane recently took in 45 animals from Florida as well, coordinating their transfer as Irma’s landfall approached. People eagerly adopted many of those pets, although some remain at the shelter, Altherr said.


“The community support has been really strong,” he said.

Berkeley Animal Care Services is located at 1 Bolivar Dr. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except Wednesday (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Berkeley Humane is located at 2700 Ninth St. Adoption hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday.