ANDERSON – Tortoise Acres Rescue & Sanctuary is receiving support from across California after barns with wild animals and some fencing burned during Thursday’s Peter Fire near Anderson.
Volunteers rushed to load and evacuate the turtles in a pickup truck.
A 17-year-old sulcata tortoise named Momo, one of the lovable animals of the Acres Tortoise Rescue and Sanctuary, has survived. Momo was also evacuated from paradise during a camp fire in 2018.
The shelter’s Facebook posts asking for donations went viral, and co-founder Katie Hoffman’s phone calls and text messages were flooded with people across the state wanting to know what they could do to help.
Hoffman said the orphanage is accepting donations at its adoption center at 3365 East Street in Anderson and has enough volunteers for the next week.
The fire entered the lands, burning turtle pens and damaging the fences around the sanctuary. Hoffman’s home and barn have been rescued.
Volunteers are needed to remove scorched brush, clean pink fire retardants from turtles, and build crates and enclosures for reptiles in the coming months.
“I can’t believe my barn and house are still standing,” Hoffman said, “but my fence has become toast.”
Hoffman said that most of the pens and boxes that contained the turtles were burned during Peter’s fire.
One of the business owners in Redding who helps funnel donations to Tortoise Acres Rescue & Sanctuary is Smokin Joe’s owner Joe Sells.
Sells said he’ll match every donation with a free scoop of ice cream or a free drink. The ice cream flavors served at Smokin Joe’s are chocolate, vanilla, and swirl.
Sales said that donations to Tortoise Acres Rescue & Sanctuary compatible with the free ice cream will last through July 23.
“I can’t stand seeing animals get hurt for one second,” Sells said. “I am a big animal lover and these are great friends who come all the time. I will do everything I can to help them get back to normal.”
Sells, 60, said he owned two exotic birds that were rescued by the founders of Tortoise Acres Rescue and Sanctuary, Katie and Ken Hoffman. His birds are Joe, the blue and yellow macaw, and the pirate, the green-cheeked conure.
“I have been a contributor to them for a long time and will continue to contribute to them forever,” Sales said. “I never charge them for anything when they come to a restaurant.”
Tortoise Acres Rescue & Sanctuary owners Katie and Ken Hoffman donated the green-cheeked conure to Sells after the death of his former bird.
“They were kind enough to give me this bird after it’s been in their possession for seven years,” Sells said. “I’ve never had anyone give me one of their pets before.”
The sanctuary usually houses more than 100 turtles and half had to evacuate on Thursday and Friday.
Katie Hoffman worked quickly and volunteers showed up at the property to help rescue the turtles. Even California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters helped stir up controversy around some of them.
how can I help
Anyone looking to help feed turtles can bring fruits such as strawberries and watermelon or vegetables such as mustard greens to the adoption center at 3365 East St. in Anderson.
Residents who wish to volunteer can contact Katie Hoffman at 530-941-0544 or her husband, Ken Hoffman, at 530-941-1870.
Ethan Hanson began working at Redding Record Searchlight after four years with the Los Angeles Daily News as a freelancer. His coverage includes working at the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in South Bend, Indiana, and writing about the St. Louis Rams’ move to Los Angeles with the Ventura County Star Division. He started his career as a theater announcer at LA Pierce College from 2011-2017. Follow him on Twitter @EthanAHanson_RS.