How dozens of cats and dogs were saved in Brantford while the Grand River flooded

Thanks to quick work from the Brant County SPCA and members of the community, while the Grand River in Brantford was flooding, dozens of cats and dogs were saved.

'The kittens need to be cuddled and the dogs need to be walked' says SPCA Executive Director Robin Kuchma

Cats Pixel and Molly have been spending their days at the Brantford Municipal Airport this week, after flooding caused the local SPCA to evacuate its facility. (Ashley Lees)

Thanks to quick work from the Brant County SPCA and members of the community, while the Grand River in Brantford was flooding, dozens of cats and dogs were saved.

As people in Brantford were being evacuated from their homes on Wednesday in the minutes after a state of emergency was declared, the SPCA began their mission to rescue the animals from its Mohawk Street facility from the damage caused by the rising waters.

By early Thursday, the SPCA was in the middle of setting up two rescue locations for people in Brant County so they could drop off their family pets before finding a secure place of their own to stay.

In total, the SPCA says, 40 to 50 cats and 20 to 30 dogs were kept dry and safe at drop off spots at Assumption College and Woodman Drive.

"We had to move everything," said Robin Kuchma, executive director of the Brant County SPCA. "Litter, boxes, cages. You name it, we had to move it."  

Kuchma and her team made a few calls and found one place big enough to house all the animals they had — the Brantford Municipal Airport.  

"Getting to the location [the airport] was quiet the travel," said Kuchma. "All traffic had been diverted in that area."

A route that would normally take 15 minutes took Kuchma and her volunteers anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to reach the airport.

Memphis the Staffordshire Terrier took a trip to his new home in Saskatoon. (Brant County SPCA)

The entire move, Kuchma says, took SPCA staff and volunteers roughly five hours. She says the animals were doing "just fine" thanks to the help of a swarm of volunteers. Kuchma says community members did everything from donating vehicles to helping relocate the animals to dropping off donations. 

"A couple of our local pet food stores and places like Pets Mart and Global Pet Foods are collecting donations for us," Kushma explained. "[These stores] also act as a drop-off point for us if anyone would care to donate."

A pile of bagged pet food donated by members of the Brant County community. (Brant County SPCA)

Although there's plenty of help at the airport, the nights, Kuchma says, can get a little lonely.

"The volunteers and staff were here [at the airport] until about 9:30 p.m. last night," Kuchma said. "They made sure they [the animals] had their final walks, their beds were fluffy, and tucked them in for the night."

Kuchma and one volunteer have stayed overnight at the airport since the evacuation and some of the animals are getting anxious. "We brought up a couple of them on our cots to snuggle with us to settle them down," she said.

Even through the chaos of moving across town and the weight of the flood is stressful, longtime resident Memphis, a Staffordshire Terrier, got the chance to jet off to his new home at the Saskatoon SPCA. The move was scheduled before the flood tore through the city.

Kuchma says that if residents have spare time, she could still use a little more help.

"The kittens need to be cuddled and the dogs need to be walked," said Kuchma. " We've had the community's support and love through it all and for that we're very appericative."