British Columbia

Animal shelters 'overwhelmed' with B.C. wildfire evacuee pets

While they have a good supply of donated pet food, animal shelters in both Prince George and Princeton say they need more volunteers.

Shelters in Princeton, Prince George says they need more volunteers

Inside an animal shelter for evacuated wildfire pets

6 years ago
Duration 0:26
The Prince George Humane Society says it needs more volunteers.

Animal shelters are feeling the pressure as more and more wildfire evacuees are coming with pets that also need a temporary home.

Angela McLaren, the executive director of the Prince George Humane Society, says the shelter is at near capacity.

"It's crazy busy. We're overwhelmed with animals that are coming into our care."

While the Prince George facilities are housing mostly dogs and cats, larger animals make up the bulk of those needing help in Princeton.

Ron McConnell, of the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team, said they're helping 25 horses, four mules, a couple of sheep and 32 chickens — so far and more keep coming in. 

The biggest challenge with the wildfires is actually being able to get to the animals, McConnell said. The situation in B.C. is tough for pet owners who have to evacuate and some are forced to leave their animals behind.

"We will do a daily run and check in on the animals ... but we need to check in with the wildfire branch and other officials to make sure it's safe for us to go in."

Need for volunteers

While the Prince George Humane Society has plenty of donated food, it needs more volunteers to help take care of the animals. (Wil Fundal/CBC)

Many owners are posting photos and details of missing animals and pets on social media, including this Facebook page, in the hopes of finding them. 

Both shelters say that they have a healthy supply of donated pet food, but they need more volunteers who can work on the front lines, as well as from home, helping to reunite animals wih their owners. 

"Princeton  being a typically small Canadian town, we have volunteers coming out of the woodwork," McConnell said. "But we're seeing some burn out with them working 14-16 hour days."

With files from Wil Fundal