Press Release: Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society Suffers Tragic Fire, Turns to Community for Assistance

From the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society
Saturday May 22, 2010 - 09:28:00 AM

BERKELEY, Calif., May 21, 2010 - Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society (BEBHS) suffered a tragic fire during the early morning hours of May 20, 2010, which destroyed much of the building. Although the majority of animals were rescued through swift action by BEBHS staff and volunteers and the Berkeley Fire Department, both the adoption offices and the hospital are now closed due to lack of water and electricity. It is not clear when the organization will be able to resume normal shelter and hospital operations. The Board of Directors and staff are currently developing a comprehensive recovery plan. 

"After saving more than 40,000 animals over almost a hundred years, the future of the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society could be in jeopardy," said Stacey Street, Executive Director. "Every day that our shelter is closed means fewer homeless animals that we are able to rescue. Therefore, we will be relying on the continued generosity of the animal welfare community, as well as the continued financial support from the community at large, in order to continue our mission of helping animals in need." 

Some animals rescued from the fire were transported to Berkeley Animal Care Services where they received comprehensive medical evaluation by BEBHS staff. Other animals were transported to nearby veterinary hospitals where they are in good health. Many have been released to foster homes.  

"We have suffered a major setback," said Virginia Gray, President of BEBHS's Board of Directors. "Thanks to swift and heroic action by our staff and the Berkeley Fire Department, we were able to save many animals. Now, our challenge will be to rebuild our shelter facilities so that we can continue to rescue local dogs and cats." 

In accordance with their mission statement, the BEBHS does not euthanize healthy or treatable animals, and was a co-winner of one of three national winners of the 2009 Maddie's Lifesaving Award. Maddie's Fund Lifesaving Awards acknowledge the outstanding contributions being made by communities that have implemented an adoption guarantee for all healthy and treatable shelter pets in their target communities and are likely to sustain it in the future. Last year BEBHS provided medical care and adopted out more than 800 dogs and cats into loving homes. 

BEBHS is currently accepting donations via their website at http://www.berkeleyhumane.org/, and is looking for volunteers to help in the rebuilding. 

About Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society 

Founded in 1927, BEBHS (http://www.berkeleyhumane.org/) has provided homes to over 40,000 homeless animals, and was the winner of the 2009 Maddie's Lifesaving Award. BEBHS is committed to guaranteeing homes for healthy and treatable homeless dogs and cats within the community. In support of this goal, BEBHS relies on a shelter-only veterinary hospital which is completely focused on providing excellent medical care for local shelter animals; its animal shelter devoted to the emotional well-being of the animals in its care; its adoption center which serves as a community resource for pet guardianship; programs that promote and preserve the human-animal bond; and the generous support of all animal lovers.