'Pebbles' the tortoise reunites with family after fleeing Sand Fire

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- A pet tortoise has been reunited with his owners after barely escaping the Sand Fire in Santa Clarita.

Pebbles' family members are relieved to have him back. Wendy Collins, a Santa Clarita State Farm agent, says her husband was the only one home when they were told to evacuate.

He had to leave Pebbles behind after he couldn't get the 75-pound tortoise into the car.

As soon as the family got to a safe place, they contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which sent deputies out to pick up the tortoise at the couple's home.

With the help of animal control officials, they then took Pebbles to the Castaic Animal Care Center and then notified his owners.

So how is Pebbles doing?

"The tortoise is terrorizing my mom's backyard. He's used to about a quarter acre, and if you see this yard, it's not much. He has totally wiped out all her vegetation," Collins said. "But you know what, he's comfortable, he's safe, he's with us, and I think he's good."

In addition to the tortoise, county animal control officials said on Monday that staffers and volunteers are caring for 345 horses, 165 goats, 111 chickens, 33 pigs and many other animals, including llama, mules, sheep, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, donkeys and even a Brahma bull at various shelter locations.

The Sand Fire erupted Friday afternoon and has since grown to 33,000 acres.

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