LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – As the wildfires continue to burn across the state, animal shelters are being overrun with animals looking to escape the flames. “People found out they had to evacuate and the animals were nowhere to be found,” said Bea Gallegos, from the Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico.

A few miles away from the shelter, the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon wildfire blazes on, forcing
people to leave their homes and get to safety at any notice and for some, that means their pets need to leave too. “Make sure anything you need for your pet immediately is ready to go if you need to go,” said Gallegos.

It’s an equally stressful situation for animals looking to get to a safe spot. “With all of the chaos, animals are kinda just squeezing through gates or just getting out on people pretty easily,” said Gallegos.

Some of those animals are ending up at Animal Welfare. “We’ve gotten a few scared ones that it’s like, maybe they have an owner, maybe they’ve just been running out there for who knows how long and they’ve just finally come out,” said Gallegos.

Stretching already thin resources even thinner. “We have probably been well over capacity for over a year now,” said Gallegos. As the fire grows and winds change its course, the shelter is trying to prepare for even more evacuations.

“We really take pride in being able to find as many animals homes as we can so we’re doing what we can to house the animals that are coming in,” said Gallegos.

Trying to get as many pets back to their original owners in all of the chaos. “We have been trying to post on Facebook where the animals were found, we’ve had a few that have successfully found their owners but we still have about ten that have not found their owners,” said Gallegos.

She’s hoping every other pet owner takes note of what to do in case they have to evacuate next. “I definitely recommend people have their pets microchipped that’s the easiest way for us to find owners,” said Gallegos.