PAYSON — When thousands of Utah residents were forced to flee their homes during a wildfire last month, their pets were displaced as well and many ended up at an animal hospital.
Staff at the Payson Family Pet Hospital housed nearly double its normal capacity of animals as residents evacuated the cities of Woodland Hills and Elk Ridge, The Daily Herald reported last week.
People began bringing their pets for boarding almost as soon as the evacuations were announced, Payson Family Pet Hospital office manager Melissa Salisbury said.
The hospital was boarding 75 dogs, cats and even a few rabbits at the peak of the evacuations. The normal maximum capacity for boarded animals is 40, Salisbury said.Comment on this story
"The halls were full, and we set up kennels throughout the break room, anywhere we had extra space." Salisbury said. "Volunteers brought down temporary kennels and little gates. It was like a maze."
There was no charge for the weeklong stay.
But many animals weren't able to be boarded throughout the duration of the evacuation.
The number of pets showing up at the South Utah Valley Animal Shelter in Spanish Fork rose in September by nearly 100 animals, which shelter licensing specialist Carrie Ward directly attributed to the evacuation.
Many of those animals have since been found by their owners, and 108 animals were claimed in September, Ward said.