Animals are left to die as owners flee Queensland bushfires

Animals are left to die after their desperate owners are forced to flee ‘nightmare‘ bushfires – as residents share tips on how to help their pets survive

Dozens of pets are feared dead after running away or being left to fend for themselves in devastating bushfires.

Horses, dogs, cats, and even budgies are missing in action with worried owners in southeast Queensland asking for help to track them down.

Some animal owners didn‘t have time to take their furry fiends with them as the fire arrived so quickly they fled with nothing.

Others were out of town when the fire hit and road closures and evacuation procedures meant they couldn‘t get back to their homes.

Local social media pages are overwhelmed with photos of beloved pets who may have met a fiery end.

Owners hoped for sightings of runaways spooked by the smoke or horses who had been released in the hope they would safely flee the flames.

Those who couldn‘t get home asked residents still in town to check on them or evacuate the stricken animals to safety.

Others left their gates open as they fled so neighbours who stayed could go in an rescue their pets. 

One woman didn‘t have time to load her chestnut horse Huggie, and buckskin Kahn, on to floats when she was evacuated from Cooroibah, on the Sunshine Coast.

‘I did not have time to get them on a float, I have let them run free I hope they are okay,‘ she said.

Two other Cooroibah horses, Effie and Cody, were also running free after a neighbour cut a fence so they could escape and outrun the fire.

Another pair of horses were missing in the same town after being let out, but were later found by a resident who managed to get back in and rescue them.

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Fortunately, their owner‘s property was no longer on fire and they were corralled back in their paddock.

A dog named Max was one of many missing, having gotten scared and jumped out of the arms of a man who tried to save him.

Numerous dogs and cats were spooked by the fires and ran away, or were just nowhere to be found when their owners evacuated. 

Residents shared tips like writing phone numbers in market on the hooves of horses, and removing blankets and ropes so they didn‘t melt into their skin.

Many kind-hearted souls offered to drive around with horse floats to rescue trapped horses, or a place where pets could be housed until the fires passed.

‘If anyone needs to evacuate themselves or animals you are welcome to bring them to our place in Imbil we have large dog cages, horse paddocks, stables and two spare rooms for anyone in need. Stay safe everyone,‘ one woman offered. 

Another noted there was ‘a lot of community spirit happening everywhere for the victims of the fire‘.

Fires on the Sunshine Coast are on Saturday afternoon mostly under control, but fire chiefs warned people not to return to their home yet.

Superintendent Rob Graham said 6,000 people evacuated from 4,900 homes in Tewantin, Lake Cooirabah, and North Shore.

‘There are still spot fires all over the affected area and the weather and the fire threat is volatile and variable,‘ he said.

‘The danger is still very real.

‘For us to have to go back into an affected area that has already been evacuated and pull people out again is a real crying shame.‘ 

Only one home, in Lake Cooroibah, was destroyed.

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