Many pets still on the run from Napa earthquake

Many pets still on the run from Napa earthquake
Oso, a mixed-breed dog believed to have fled through an open window to escape Sunday's earthquake in Napa, is among scores of pets still missing. (Family photo)

Scores of pet owners in the Napa area continue searching for animals that ran or flew off after Sunday's predawn earthquake or the numerous aftershocks that have rattled the region in the days that followed.

"Certainly, the animals are sensing this on a much deeper level than we are," said Kristen Loomer, manager of the Napa County Animal Shelter, itself situated between the town of Napa and the epicenter of the first 6.0 quake.


State geologists said 50 to 60 aftershocks followed within the next 24 hours and have sporadically continued, including a 3.9 tremor at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The county by Tuesday had collected a dozen dogs and returned four to their owners. Others had been located through the animals' microchips and would be picked up soon.

But many more remained at large. Loomer said she had calls from about 50 owners looking for their cats, harder to find because felines tend to hide under bushes, beneath cars, within neighbors' garages or in the rafters of out buildings. Loomer said one woman eventually located her cat, deep within a stove.

"Their instinct is to hunker down," she said.

Among those still searching for a missing beloved is the Powers family of Napa, owners of Oso, a midsized, multicolored mutt of uncertain parentage.

He was sleeping on the floor next to Natalie Powers' bed when their Napa house shook and a bookshelf came crashing down. Powers rolled under her bed for cover and reached out to pull in the dog, but he was already gone, apparently jumping out an open window.

Powers and her daughter scoured their neighborhood Sunday and then drove to the shelter in the hope someone had brought Oso in. He was not there. The same again Monday. And Tuesday.

"We're out looking every day," Powers said. "My husband is out right now. And we're going to start hanging fliers. Someone saw a dog at Starbucks. Maybe it was him.

"The physical damage wasn't so bad," she said. "It is the emotional toll."

Powers hopes someone has found Oso and is sheltering him, afraid to take the dog to the shelter out of fear a stray would be euthanized. "I'm told sometimes people think that ... a man called it the 'Disney effect.' The bad dogcatcher and all," she said.

On the contrary, the Napa shelter has turned itself into a rehoming center. On its Facebook page are posts featuring the quake's lost and found, including the missing Oso. Someone else in the community has started a Facebook group with many more such postings: Missing Pets of Napa Quake.