Plight of Animals in Fort McMurray


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Fort McMurray residents were ordered to evacuate so quickly many didn’t take their pets when the wildfires quickly hit May 3. Others were away when the evacuations occurred, and weren’t allowed to retrieve pets, or anything else for that matter.

Aside from emergency crews, no one is allowed to return the city, leaving animals to fend for themselves in the fire raged city in Alberta, Canada.

Officials have given few details other than to report that over 1,600 homes and other buildings have been destroyed. Over 88,000 people have been forced the evacuate the area.  People who have seen the damage say whole neighborhoods have been wiped out.

Alberta is also horse country,  Sonia Dantu, executive director of the Alberta Equestrian Federation told the Edmonton Journal, they are compiling lists of people who are ready and willing to help once they’re allowed back into the area. She also said they’re raising money for feed, water, transportation and veterinary care.

“We’re trying to help as much as we can,” she said. “So we’re not actually on the ground, they won’t let us in. Humans are their first priority, which I understand, but it’s very, very tough for the horse owners.” Before they evacuated, some horse owners just let the horses out of their stables and hoped for the best. Of course, the horses will run away from the smoke and fire, and where there is pasture to graze – if they can find it. The hope is those horses will survive until they can somehow be recovered.

Right now, at least, no one is getting in to recover horses or dogs or cats or other pets.  However, there are stories of heroic rogue rescuers who have risked their own lives to save pets in Fort McMurray and nearby communities.

There’s no official word on human or pet death toll, or injured animals. But lost pets have been recovered, some suffering from smoke inhalation, or other injuries. Other pets are roaming the community, or remain trapped in homes, and in some cases without food or water. Here’s the Facebook Page for Missing Animals of Fort McMurray Fire, and also there’s the Fort McMurray Fire Emergency Facebook Page.

From Supporters of Alberta Animal Rescuers:

If you left behind a pet in Fort McMurray, please fill out this form here. Search for your pet or add it to the virtual pet map here.

For those who may be in the area, or know be people that are, here are some animal assistance options:

  • Edmonton Humane Society (strays):
  • The Edmonton Humane Society is accepting found animals without owners, according to their Facebook page. They otherwise recommend people move to the Northlands Expo Centre with their pets. They are also partnering with the Animal Care and Control Centre in Edmonton with a “fleet of staff and volunteers on standby to help transport” animals if needed. They are accepting any food and supply donations at their centre. They have not yet received any animals from the fires.
  • Champion Petfoods is offering free food for those with cats and dogs at 11403 186 St. in Edmonton.
  • Northlands Expo Centre. Located at, 7515 118 Ave. Northlands is the main spot for evacuees to find free accommodations where they are able to stay with their pets.
  • If you’re worried about an animal, call 780-762-3636.

Here are a list of veterinary clinics en route to Edmonton from Fort McMurray, not only providing medical care but some offer boarding:

  • Boyle Veterinary Services: 780-689-3800
  • Lakeland Animal Care Group (Lac La Biche): 780-623-8387
  • Westlock Veterinary Center: 780-349-3663
  • Athabasca Veterinary Services: 780-675-2194 (sorry, no boarding available)
  • Morinvillle Veterinary Clinic: 780-939-3133
  • Fort Saskatchewan: 780-998-3755 (sorry, no boarding available)