Would your kitty or canine be safe in a major emergency?
The BC SPCA is calling on British Columbians to support changes to laws so that animals are included in the province’s emergency management legislation.
As the provincial government looks for input on how to modernize the legislation until the end of the month, the animal welfare group has launched an online petition addressed to Minister NDP MLA Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General to make the necessary changes.
B.C.’s emergency legislation doesn’t currently require local authorities to include domestic animals in its emergency planning procedures, the petition notes. The consequences of that, according to the BC SPCA, mean more owners who won’t evacuate without their pets; people going back to evacuation zones to rescue animals; and potential negative impacts to people’s mental health when they’re separated from their pets.
“The devastating reports from Australia, where more than a billion animals are estimated to have died as a result of bush fires, are a somber reminder that both humans and animals are extremely vulnerable during a disaster,” BC SPCA chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty said in a press release.
In recent years, BC SPCA staff has witnessed these dangers first hand as flooding and wildfires have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of British Columbians from their homes, according to Moriarty.
She added: “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.”