Pets in Disasters

CBC News (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) recently published a piece on the absolute mess that was the evacuation of pets during the massive Fort McMurray wildfires.

A number of issues were highlighted in the article:

  • There was no Provincial plan in place standardizing the response / recovery efforts of multiple agencies / jurisdictions
  • “Rogue” groups were cited as causing major problems – spontaneous volunteers that self-activate, fail to report to IC (Incident Command), and fail to communicate with authorized responders
    • This also compounded the fact that there was no master list of all agencies involved, so owners did not even know where they should be looking
  • Regional Municipality by-laws that were followed to the letter for ‘peace-time’ operations (3-day holds before an animal was turned over to the SPCA or destroyed) that did not account for issues expected during a disaster
  • Incomplete information in disparate databases resulting in a great deal of duplication of effort, inefficient use of time, and mass-duplication of paperwork

What needs to be done differently?

  • A Provincial-wide plan must be developed and included as an Annex to the Provincial EOP (Emergency Operations Plan)
  • Standard Operating Procedures need to be implemented for matters such as:
    • Holding times for animals collected in times of crisis
    • Information necessary to be collected (where the animal was found, was it Chip’d (ID Chip implanted)?, tattooed / otherwise marked)?, description of the animal, etc.)
    • Pre-established collection sites / processing centers where all agencies involved are to bring all found animals
  • Pet owners need to:
    • Develop personal plans that account for the needs of their pets / animals / livestock
    • Exercise their plans to ensure that they have accounted for their needs and have identified points of refuge that their animals can be taken to or safely left in the event of an evacuation



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s