After gaining permission to go behind evacuation lines into the community of Lytton on July 8, the BC SPCA reports that they were able to rescue 41 animals from 27 different properties.
It’s estimated that 90 per cent of the town was destroyed in a fire that started on June 30. Many residents only had time to flee with the clothes on their back, and some had to leave pets and livestock behind.
The SPCA has been receiving requests from residents for help with animals left in the area, and compiled lists based on calls to the BC SPCA hotline, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, and Lytton First Nation. Working from these lists, 10 SPCA animal protection officers and two shelter staff, with additional staff and volunteers on hand to care for incoming animals, gained access to the community between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on July 8 to search for animals.
SPCA officers found and brought to safety 12 cats, five kittens, four dogs, and 20 farm animals. Officers brought animals to a staging area at the edge of the evacuation line, where additional SPCA staff were waiting.
The companion animals have been transported to the BC SPCA’s Animal Evacuation Centre in Kamloops or to veterinary clinics if needed, and the farm animals have been transferred to foster homes.
“At the Evacuation Centre the animals can be claimed by their owners if they are staying somewhere they can keep them, or we can provide free emergency shelter if needed,” say Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA.
“We can only imagine how devastating it is for these poor families to lose their homes and possessions or to not know what is left of their properties,” she says. “By returning their pets safely to them and providing whatever emergency support they need, we hope we can relieve some of the incredible stress and hardship they are facing.
“We are here to support the residents of Lytton and their animals however we can.”