UPDATE: 4:34 p.m.
Despite the South Okanagan BC SPCA having to relocate animals in its care due to the wildfire burning on Mount Christie near Penticton, the charity is still offering assistance to evacuees in the area.
Animals from the Penticton shelter have been transferred to other locations in the area, depending on their needs.
The BC SPCA is also reaching out to offer pet food and supplies and emergency pet boarding for residents impacted by the Southern Okanagan wildfires.
Emergency boarding for pets of families that need to be evacuated is available at the BC SPCA location in Kelowna.
“We want residents to know if they are evacuating and have nowhere to take their pets, we can provide temporary accommodation for them at the BC SPCA Kelowna location,” says Parm Takhar, chief operations officer for the BC SPCA. “Anyone needing assistance is asked to please contact our Animal Helpline at 1-855-622-7722 to make boarding arrangements.”
Despite being within the evacuation alert zone, the South Okanagan branch of the BC SPCA is along with the Kelowna shelter is equipped to provide pet food or other supplies to any evacuee. The Penticton location will continue to provide community food bank outreach services to the community while on alert.
“We strongly encourage pet owners to plan for their animals when making evacuation preparations”, says Takhar. The BC SPCA provides an Emergency Evacuation Checklist to help, and pet owners should also register their pet with the BC Pet Registry in case they are separated during an emergency evacuation.
During the record-breaking 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons the BC SPCA operated an Animal Evacuation Centre for evacuated pets in Prince George.
If you can help the animals affected by the wildfires in Penticton or animals in need at the BC SPCA, please visit spca.bc.ca/emergency.
Residents and their pets living in the Heritage Hills area, about six kilometres from Okanagan Falls, were forced from their home on Tuesday (Aug. 17) due to the growing Mount Christie wildfire.
In the past when residents are evacuated from their homes they can usually take their pets to the closest BC SPCA for boarding. The non-profit provides a safe space for the animals, along with food and medication.
However, the South Okanagan BC SPCA is in an area that is under an evacuation alert, along with more than 3,000 other properties in Penticton.
Kelowna BC SPCA branch manager Sean Hogan says the South Okanagan shelter is currently working to load up all of the animals in their care and transport them to shelters in Kelowna, Vernon and the Shuswap.
“Right now the South Okanagan shelter is not a destination for boarding pets, who might have been evacuated due to the Mount Christie wildfire,” explained Hogan. “Kelowna is on stand-by to be the emergency hub if need be. Right now, it’s not necessary, but we have been through this before and we know the protocols.”
The branches across the Okanagan and Shuswap are supporting each other to ensure there is enough space available to care for all of their animals.
Residents who are looking for medication, food, boarding or advice for their pets during this time and are evacuated or facing an evacuation alert can call Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital in West Kelowna.
Dr. Oz is offering free pet boarding to anyone who may have been forced from their home on Tuesday. He said, his staff is available to answer all questions and that medication and food are available at the clinic.
The Rose Valley vet is located at 112-2476 Westlake Road, West Kelowna.
The The Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT) is also available to assist pets during wildfires.
ALERT is made up of volunteers who are mobilized when local authorities request ALERT’s help and when Emergency Management BC’s Emergency Support Services is activated.
If you are interested in fostering or hauling animals affected by the wildfire please go to the website and fill out the forms.
ALERT is located at 113-437 Martin Street in Penticton, and can be contacted by phone at 250-809-7152.
Preparing in advance will increase the likelihood that your pet remains safe and healthy during an emergency.
Your pet survival kit should include:
- 72-hour food supply including bowls and a can opener
- 72-hour water supply
- Leash, harness, muzzle
- Pet carrier
- Medical/vaccination records, medication and veterinarian contact information - always keep copies of these in your grab ‘n go kit
- ID tags and micro chip number
- Blankets and toys
- An X-pen if you have room
If your residence has been placed on an evacuation order, you’re asked to register at ess.gove.bc.ca or 199 Ellis Street in Penticton.
READ MORE: Wildfire burns across border with Osoyoos