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Prisoners welcome canine wildfire evacuees

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Nearly 50 deaf dogs evacuated from a shelter threatened by a raging wildfire north of Los Angeles have gotten a warm welcome at a state prison.

The owners of Deaf Dog Rescue of America decided to evacuate the animals from their Santa Clarita kennel Sunday night as the Sand fire started moving closer to the property.

“We knew if we had an issue in the middle of the night, we would be here alone with 45 dogs to load up,” Lisa Tipton posted on the rescue’s Facebook page.

Deaf Dog Rescue takes in deaf dogs from across the country, trains them and places them in new homes. It also provides assistance to new deaf dog owners who need training advice.

The rescue was debating where it might take the dogs when the state prison in Lancaster — where Lisa’s husband, Mark, operates a dog training program called Karma Rescue — offered all 50 of them shelter.

“We arrived to find the man-cages ready for the dogs,” Lisa Tipton said, with “food, water, beds, and igloos.”

The hospitality didn’t end there, NBC 4 in Los Angeles reported.

sandfire2When the couple returned to the prison Monday morning to feed the dogs, they found all that had been taken care of.

“The inmates had handled breakfast beautifully. They were getting the dogs out for exercise and cleaning their runs…

“I have never, ever seen anyone clean up dog poop with such glee.”

Even the dogs that aren’t always comfortable around strangers were coping well, Lisa Tipton added.

“To see incarcerated men of all races working so beautifully together to help others is a really amazing experience,” she said. “If they had turned us away, with 97 degree [heat], we would’ve had dead dogs in the trailer.”

She said the dogs will probably remain in the prison through the end of the week as efforts to contain the fire continue.

(Photos: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)