Shelter DogsOn May 20, a fire tore through the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society, destroying much of the animal shelter. According to the Daily Californian, more than a dozen cats died from smoke inhalation, while the surviving animals — 10 cats and 14 dogs — were moved to Berkeley Animal Care Services and local veterinary hospitals, or placed into foster homes.

Damages to the building were estimated at about $500,000. The BEBHS is now closed for an indefinite period. “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.”

The shelter desperately needs help, and people are doing their part. The Contra Costa Times reports that pet-related businesses throughout the Bay Area are chipping in to help the BEBHS. Participating merchants donated 20 percent or more of proceeds from sales on Saturday, May 22 to the shelter. Customers responded: Ana Poe, owner of Paco Collars on Shattuck Avenue, said sales were up about 75 percent Saturday. Other shelters are helping as well. The Marin Humane Society donated a portion of their proceeds from their Paw Prints dog walk fundraiser to the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society.

Perhaps most touching are the efforts of children. A report on KGO-TV tells “two kids who left a letter explaining how they raised $10 selling cupcakes and lemonade.” The children, Billie and Sofia, wrote in their letter, “We are very sad about the fire in the shelter and hope you can make it through the sadness.”

So far, it’s estimated that the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society has received over $100,000 in donations. However, they are still in dire straits, having lost their entire cat sheltering area as well as laundry facilities and offices.  The shelter is still without water, electricity, and phone service. “Every day that we are closed,” says executive director Stacy Street,  “the fewer animals we can save.”

To learn how you can help, visit the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society Web Site.

Photo Credit: Dodgers Mom