Fort McMurray SPCA spent the weekend rescuing pets—in secret

The Fort McMurray SPCA shared this photo of a pet lost in the region due to the wildfires. The cat's owner has been located. Courtesy: Fort McMurray SPCA/Facebook

One week after 80,000 wildfire evacuees fled Fort McMurray, the local SPCA is able to tell residents what’s being done to save their beloved pets.

Click here for our continuing coverage of the Fort McMurray wildfires

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the Fort McMurray SPCA said animals were evacuated from its shelter on Sunday May 1 and put into temporary foster care. By Tuesday May 3, all foster animals, staff and volunteers were forced to evacuate.

RCMP officers will do what they can to assist pets they may come across in carrying out search and rescue operations. Courtesy: Alberta RCMP

“In spite of some of our homes and belongings also being consumed by the wildfire, we asked for permission to return to Fort McMurray to help our community pets on Thursday, which was subsequently granted,” reads the post.

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READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire – 1 week after mass exodus of 80K people, fire grows to 229K hectares

But it was on one condition: the group wasn’t allowed to provide any information to the public for 96 hours.

“While we understood how anxious and worried local pet owners would be, as the only local animal welfare organization in the RMWB (Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo), it was important to us that we serve our community and did everything we could during this devastating time.”

Requests to the RMWB for more information on the instructions were not answered by publication time.

The SPCA said it arrived in the community to find two other animal rescue groups and a number of animal control agencies requested by the RMWB were on scene.

Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of the Fort McMurray wildfires

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Over the next 96 hours, the crews worked to rescue as many animals as possible. The shelter was re-opened for temporary housing before the animals were transported to the “pet evacuation pickup centre.” The veterinary clinic treated animals in need and pets were given food, water and “our fair share of love and attention.”

READ MORE: Power, pets and cash cards – Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees pose questions to Notley 

The Fort MacMurray SPCA also gathered hundreds of pet rescue requests and incorporated them to the RWMB pet rescue process.

“We are proud to say that we played a large role in this pet rescue, with the first achievement being a shipment of 244 animals sent by transport truck to Edmonton on the evening of Sunday, May 8,” reads the post. Their owners will be contacted as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire – Good Samaritans from Edmonton rescue 10 dogs, 2 cats, 5 kittens

“Our FMSPCA representatives worked in challenging conditions: sometimes requiring respirators, without running water or electricity until we got power late on Saturday. They also worked tireless hours with little sleep or comfort and spent the last three nights in their vehicles due to lack of available resources.”

Anyone with a pet they were forced to leave behind during the mass evacuation should register online here.

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To make a donation, visit the SPCA website here

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