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Maple Ridge joins other BC SPCA branches in helping animals amidst wildfires

More than 350 wildfires rage through B.C., with thousands evacuated
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The BC SPCA is offering support to pet owners who are dealing with the threat of wildfires. (BC SPCA/Special to The News)

As wildfires continue to rip through the Okanagan and many other parts of B.C., with tens of thousands of people being evacuated from their homes, the BC SPCA has announced that they’re stepping up to offer help for pets affected by the fires.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the B.C. wildfires

On Friday, Gaelene Askeland, senior manager of Animal Care Services in Kelowna, said the organization was already in the process of providing emergency boarding for pets of evacuees and has pet food and supplies available for those in need.

“We currently have 24 animals in our care through emergency boarding with more requests coming in from evacuees in Kelowna, Lytton and Kamloops,” said Askeland. “To keep up with growing demand, we are currently deploying additional staff members to our animal centres in the Okanagan and Thompson-Nicola regions.”

“This is an extremely stressful and scary time. We want pet guardians to know the BC SPCA is here to help ease some of the burden they may be feeling.”

However, the wildfire issues have grown so significant that even SPCA branches as far away as Metro Vancouver are offering support, explained Maple Ridge SPCA manager Kahlee Demers.

“At this point, this is an all-hands-on-deck situation and all shelters will be participating in any ways that we can whether it be through staffing, supplies, and animal space,” said Demers.

“We don’t have any animals from the wildfires in the shelter as of right now as we’re completely full, but have now made space to assist with emergency boards. We have received a few requests already and are prioritizing animals needing boarding space from evacuating the wildfire areas.”

READ ALSO: Local businesses donate $10,000 to Maple Ridge SPCA

Evacuees in need of emergency boarding, pet supplies, or pet food can contact the following agencies for more information:

BC SPCA: B.C. wildfire evacuees who are in need of emergency boarding for their pets, please contact the BC SPCA Animal Helpline at 1-855-622-7722

Emergency Support Services (ESS): Anyone in the province impacted by the fires should contact the ESS Call Centre which can be reached toll free in B.C. at 1-800-585-9559.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre: call 1-877-569-8490

Central Okanagan’s Emergency Support Services (ESS): call 250-763-4918 or email eoc.ess@kelowna.ca.

Thompson-Nicola Regional District Emergency Operations Centre: call 1-866-377-7188 or email emergency@tnrd.ca.

For those wanting to donate to help animals affected by the wildfires, the BC SPCA has set up a special online emergency donation site, where donations will be matched up to $10,000 by Telus Health MyPet.


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Brandon Tucker

About the Author: Brandon Tucker

I have been a journalist since 2013, with much of my career spent covering sports and entertainment stories in Alberta.
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