As wildfires threaten many areas of the province this summer, the BC SPCA is reminding British Columbians that emergency help is available for pets and other animals in the case of evacuation.
“It is hard to imagine how stressful it is for people to have to leave their homes during an evacuation order, not knowing what they will be coming back to,” says Tracy Westmoreland, senior director for provincial animal care services for the BC SPCA. “It is challenging enough for evacuees to find temporary shelter for themselves, but it can be even more difficult to find places that will accommodate their pets.” Westmoreland says the BC SPCA offers a wide range of emergency services for animals and their guardians, including free emergency boarding for pets, distribution of pet food, crates, leashes, collars and other supplies, as well as animal rescue and the care and feeding of animals who are sheltering in place behind evacuation lines. Last year the BC SPCA cared for hundreds of animals impacted by wildfires, floods and other natural disasters in B.C.
“Until very recently, we still had animals in our free emergency boarding program from disasters that took place in 2021,” says Westmoreland. “It was so wonderful to see them reunited with their families, who were finally able to take them home.”
Westmoreland says the BC SPCA is also reminding people to include their pets in their emergency plans before a disaster happens. “Having a ‘go bag’ and crate ready with a leash, a supply of food, medication, veterinary contact information and other key items can make a big difference if you have to leave with your pet in a hurry.”