Lacey Firefighters Receive PETA Award for Rescuing Hamsters From House Fire

Quick-Thinking First Responders Fashion Tiny Oxygen Mask to Revive Blaze Victims

For Immediate Release:
September 30, 2014

Alexis Sadoti 202-483-7382

Lacey, Wash.

Call it looking out for the little guy. While responding to a fire at what they thought was an unoccupied mobile home, firefighters with Lacey Fire District 3 encountered a family of hamsters trapped inside the blaze. The animals had already inhaled copious amounts of harsh smoke, so the firefighters, armed with dog and cat oxygen masks, rushed to improvise even tinier masks to help the hamsters breathe. The oxygen quickly revived the adult hamsters, Madonna and Oreo, who made a full recovery, as did all but one of their babies.

For its dedication to protecting all of Lacey’s residents—no matter their species or size—PETA will send Lacey Fire District 3 a framed Compassionate Fire Department Award, along with an assortment of vegan cookies and a letter of appreciation.

“Lacey Fire District 3’s kindness and quick thinking meant the difference between life and death for these hamsters—and it was surely a relief to the hamsters’ family that their companions were saved,” says PETA Senior Director Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes the department’s actions will encourage first responders across the country to keep an eye out for the smallest family members.”

PETA offers “Please Save Our Animals” stickers, which animal guardians can use to alert first responders to animal companions who may be in the home, and encourages residents to contact their local fire departments to see if they carry animal oxygen masks, as Lacey Fire District 3 does. If not, the lifesaving tools can be donated—they may make a huge difference in the rescue of a cat or a dog (or a hamster!).

PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way,” also encourages would-be guardians of all animals—including hamsters—to adopt from animal shelters rather than buying animals from a pet store. PETA investigations of pet store suppliers have revealed routine cruelty and neglect of hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and other small animals.

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