BC SPCA asks for inclusion of animals in emergency legislation

Rescuing pets during disaster

In the wake of Australia’s devastating fires, BC SPCA is urging British Columbians to support the inclusion of animals in the province’s Emergency Management Legislation.

Updates to the legislation are open for public input until Jan. 31.

BC SPCA chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty says they have witnessed the danger of natural disasters first-hand in British Columbia in recent years, and watched on with horror as Australia battles with out-of-control fires.

“The devastating reports from Australia, where more than a billion animals are estimated to have died as a result of bushfires, are a somber reminder that both humans and animals are extremely vulnerable during a disaster.

"Currently B.C. does not require local authorities to include domestic animals in emergency planning, response or emergency support services. This has serious consequences for both animals and humans, including loss of animal life, increased likelihood of pet owners failing to evacuate if there are no options for their pet, pet owners returning to evacuated areas to try to save their pets and increased risk for emergency responders entering hazardous area to rescue animals left behind."

Moriarty says trying to re-home or save pets during natural disasters can be very stressful for owners.

“For many of us, pets are members of our families and when a natural disaster strikes and people are evacuated it is extremely stressful for them to consider leaving their animals behind or having to struggle to find resources to help care for them while the family is temporarily homeless.”

To add your name, visit spca.bc.ca/bcemergencylegislation.

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