Nearly 50 deaf dogs threatened by the Sand Fire have found a temporary home: behind bars. The rescue dogs are waiting out the fire in the Lancaster prison.
The owners of Deaf Dog Rescue of America decided to evacuate the animals from their Santa Clarita kennel Sunday night, after the fire started moving closer and closer to the property. Though they were not under mandatory evacuation, Mark and Lisa Tipton decided they were better safe than sorry.
"We knew if we had an issue in the middle of the night, [we] would be here alone with 45 dogs to load up," she posted on the rescue's Facebook page. "Not a can-do."
But the Tiptons had a hard time finding a place that could hold all of their animals, which they've rescued from across the U.S. They were ultimately invited to bring them all to the prison, where Mark Tipton operates a dog training program, Karma Rescue.
"We arrived to find the man-cages ready for the dogs," Lisa Tipton said, with "food, water, beds, and igloos."
The couple returned to their home Sunday night, planning to show up to the prison for the dogs' breakfast the next day. Lisa said she was amazed at what she saw when they arrived.
"The inmates had handled breakfast beautifully," she said. "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."
The dogs, even the ones that aren't always comfortable around strangers, were just as happy, she said.
"[They] were thriving under their care," she said, "and had wagging tales and smiles on their faces."
The Tiptons said they're happy their dogs had such a warm welcome.
"To see incarcerated men of all races working so beautifully together to help others is a really amazing experience," Lisa Tipton said. "If they had turned us away, with 97 degree [heat], we would've had dead dogs in the trailer."
The dogs will likely stay in the prison through the end of the week, until the fire is more contained.
Now the rescue is looking for donations to cover the expenses of moving the dogs. You can donate to the shelter on their website.