Saddlerock Visit Update

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Saddlerock Visit Update

Friday November 16th – Saddlerock Ranch Visit Update:

The visit to Saddlerock Ranch today was a good one. Everyone is very positive and in good spirits. It is amazing at how much the staff have accomplished cleaning things up and getting back to normal routines. Most of the animal groups have already been returned to their normal paddock areas.

It has been one week since the fire and my primary reason for the visit today was to check that no latent medical issues have shown up since that time. I am pleased to say that all of the animals still appear normal in all respects on physical exam with no secondary issues. There are only exceptions: The Llama with the foot pad issues which I treated last Saturday. He has progressed very well and is walking normal. The bandage on his one foot was removed - the area cleaned and treated – then re-wrapped. The staff will change his bandage at 4 day intervals. At this point I expect him to continue to do well and make a full recovery. The big male pig was acting normal but seemed a little stiff in the rear legs – so he was started on a light oral pain medication for a few days. The horse on which I did the emergency leg and chest treatment had been moved to an equine medical facility for further treatment - and is currently doing well. The owner indicated to the Saddlerock Ranch staff that she hopes to be able to bring her horse back to the ranch soon and to return to his normal boarding status.

All of the animal enclosures are in good shape and need no specific work except for 2 paddocks: Stanley the Giraffe has a temporary shade structure and already is getting a new barn (currently under construction). On the Water Buffalo area one of the multiple shade structures will need to be rebuilt. Currently all of the automatic waterers are functioning normally. The ranch maintains large stocks of hay at one of its other facilities of which they are bringing onto the ranch in quantity as needed. All of the ranch medical supplies have been now been restocked so they are fully functional to treat any issues should one occur. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been out for a visit and they were quite pleased at how well the animals have done through this ordeal. The USDA has been updated multiple times on the animal and ranch status.

So overall things are progressing well with no new issues. The staff are working incredible hard to return Saddlerock Ranch to its normal functioning status.

Dr. Stephen Klause

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Stanley reported safe after Woolsey Fire | Daily News

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Stanley reported safe after Woolsey Fire | Daily News

“As a veterinarian with 33 years of experience, the fire protocol of moving the animals into the central area was the most prudent and realistic plan to get the animals to safety,” he wrote. “No animal moved into that area perished as a result of a fire that destroyed 95 percent of the structures on the property, which is a testament to the viability and enactment of the ranch’s fire protocol.”

Read the full story on Daily News here: https://www.dailynews.com/2018/11/14/stanley-the-giraffe-reported-safe-after-woolsey-fire-tore-through-malibu/

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Your Tango.Com | Who is Stanley?

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Your Tango.Com | Who is Stanley?

The fire crested the hill that put Malibu Wines and Saddlerock Ranch in the direct path of the fire on Friday. People began to wonder what Malibu Wines Safari was going to do about the animals on property, particularly Stanley the giraffe, who is a popular figure at the winery….

Read the full story here: https://www.yourtango.com/2018318984/who-is-stanley-the-giraffe-at-mailbu-wine-safari

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A Statement from Our Team

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A Statement from Our Team

A Statement from our Team

Caring for animals, especially exotic ones, is a very big job. And it’s a responsibility that we at Malibu Wine Safari do not take lightly. We care deeply for all of our animals as well as staff, and we’re incredibly grateful that our expert staff was able to safely transport our animals to safety before Friday’s tragic fire reached the ranch. Since the Woolsey fire took our beloved ranch away, the public rightfully has a lot of questions. In addition to the post from Dr. Stephen Klause yesterday, we wanted to provide an official statement on how we handled the safety of our animals in the early morning hours of last Friday.

First and foremost, we’re extremely happy to report that our beloved Stanley the Giraffe is alive and well. And while we hope to find the one sheep that is still unaccounted for, we can report that the remainder of our animals are in good hands—they’re alive, safe, secure, and receiving around-the-clock care. We are also extremely thankful that our staff and volunteers are safe, as well.

Having a Plan

In addition to giving animals food, water, love, and a clean living space, caregivers should (and are required by law) develop a plan to evacuate the animals to a safe location in the event of a disaster. Because of our geography, Malibu Wine’s evacuation plan is designed around the impending threat of wildfires. Our plan was developed with the USDA, and they also helped us train the safari staff through educational materials. In addition to drills, we have been involved in helping others evacuate animals during fires (such as the Thomas Fire), by providing resources like trailers, shelter for animals, and even by physically helping evacuate animals.

As Dr. Klause stated yesterday, our “fire” evacuation plan has always consisted of moving the larger animals to land on the property that would be safe from potential fire. How did we know this land would be safe from flames? Fortunately, this wide open area at Saddlerock has no trees or brush—and only consists of gravel, dirt, and a large lake. Effectively, this barren enclosure has little to no “fuel” to power a fire or facilitate the spread of one for eighty acres, ample space to store all of our exotic and domestic animals. This was also verified by the USDA.

As prepared as we were, we could not stop the destructive path of the Woolsey fire. On November 9 at 12:30 a.m., Malibu Wine Safari carried out this longstanding planned procedure of evacuation of animals and staff. Our animals, including Stanley, were either evacuated or moved into these safe and protected enclosures prior to 7:30 a.m.

Prioritizing Safety

While the smaller animals were transported offsite, the exotic and domestic animals were relocated to the designated land on the ranch that would not be threatened by the fire. I know what you’re thinking: Why not immediately move all animals offsite at the same time?

We had three teams working in tandem: Team One evacuated the main barn area including boarded horses. Team Two was tasked with loading small animals into trailers while Team Three worked on moving the large animals. Dr. Klause can verify that we pragmatically and swiftly addressed all safety concerns facing our animals.

Similar to what Dr. Klause said in his statement, it’s important to remember the animals were incredibly distressed. Moving a distressed animal—especially a large one, like a giraffe of Stanley’s height—onto a trailer is a very delicate process, especially since they can cause injuries to themselves in the process. There was enormous potential for the animals to sustain life-threatening injuries, like a broken leg, which would’ve only compounded our issues at the time.

It’s paramount to understand that we absolutely did not want to risk injuring Stanley during the evacuation process. Animals like Stanley, similar to horses, have heavy bodies and light leg bones. When bones break in these animals, it often means they shatter. And it's almost impossible to surgically reconstruct the fractured leg of a horse or a giraffe.

The Image Sent Around the World

The image of Stanley circulating on social media, while very jarring, does not portray the proper context of the situation. The reason we waited to evacuate Stanley is that he was distraught, and, as previously mentioned, large animals have a tendency to fatally injure themselves in stressful situations. Behind the camera were over thirty men and women keeping Stanley calm, and assembling the necessary resources to remove him from the premises.

As we embark on the long road to rebuild our ranch, we are humbled to be so fortunate, especially when the Woolsey fire has destroyed so much life. The fact that we acted swiftly, proactively, and pragmatically allowed us to save all human and as much animal life as possible—and we feel this is nothing short of a miracle.

Dakota Semler, CEO and Founder of Malibu Wine Safaris

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A Statement from Dr. Klaus

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A Statement from Dr. Klaus

A message from Dr. Stephen Klause on the Animal Care at Saddlerock Ranch

On the evening of Friday, November 9, fire from the combined Woosley Malibu Fires swept across Saddlerock Ranch, destroying Malibu Wine Safari.

Ranch personnel received minimal time notification (a little more than 2 hours) that the fire was likely to move over their area. This small window of time given to ranch personnel was due to the speed that the fire was moving because of the 50-70 mph Santa Ana winds. The ranch staff immediately instituted the planned fire protocol that was in place for just such an occurrence.

All of the exotic and domestic animals plus boarding horses were let out into the wide open central area that is contained with many fenced off pastures. This wide open area has no trees or brush, but consists of short grass, dirt, and a lake area. This barren enclosure has little to no “fuel” to power a fire or facilitate the spread of one.

There are over one hundred exotic and domestic animals in addition to dozens of boarding horses on Saddlerock Ranch. As a veterinarian with 33 years of experience, the fire protocol of moving the animals into the central area was the most prudent and realistic plan to get the animals to safety.

Exotic animals cannot simply be haltered and moved onto a trailer and off of the property. The majority of them require anesthesia and major lifting capability to move them onto a trailer. It would take weeks to move a collection of that size and animal type, which in itself, would be an extreme risk to some of the animals. The staff did an amazing job in a very short period of time to accomplish this feat.

No animal moved into that area perished as a result of a fire that destroyed 95 percent of the structures on the property, which is a testament to the viability and enactment of the ranch’s fire protocol. All of those animals came through the ordeal with no issues whatsoever, with the exception of two animals:

  • One llama had some foot pad issues for which I administered foot care, ointments, bandaging, antibiotics, and pain medications.  

  • One horse had some wire fence injuries which I addressed by sedating the animal, cleaning the wounds, bandaging the leg, suturing the chest laceration, and starting a long-acting antibiotic. Following my procedure, I contacted an equine veterinarian that frequently works on the ranch and described what was wrong with the horse and the emergency care that I gave at the time. That veterinarian was then able to get on the ranch yesterday (Sunday) and continue to provide care for that horse.


After the animals were placed in the safe location, staff and personnel safely evacuated the property. Some staff members were able to get back on the property about four hours later and they worked through the night attending to the animals. I was in contact with staff members and the owner throughout the night.  

I went to Saddlerock early Saturday morning to tend to the animals. All roads in and out of the area were closed due to downed power lines. After almost four hours (and some creative trail driving) I was on the ranch by about 9:00 a.m. When I arrived, I found 95 percent of the animals had already been fed and watered, and the staff was working quickly to care for and nourish the remaining animals.

I spent the majority of the day examining each of the exotic and domestic animals. All of the animals were essentially normal, calm, and eating and drinking. I also ordered a complete replacement of the ranch’s medical supplies which will be onsite by Friday, November 16.

I have been in daily contact with the animal caretakers, owners, and other staff members at Saddlerock Ranch. Currently, there are no new animal issues and they are all doing well at this time. Barring any medical complications, I will be back at Saddlerock Ranch on Friday, November 16 to recheck all of the animals to ensure no latent issues have shown up, and continue any needed treatments.

I commend the staff and owners of Saddlerock Ranch for their quick reactions to the situation and outstanding care and concern for the animals in the face of devastating property damage.

Dr. Stephen Klause

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