LYTTON (NEWS 1130) — Forty-one animals have been rescued from Lytton after the BC SPCA was allowed access to the evacuated, fire-ravaged community.
Residents of the village in the Fraser Canyon and surrounding First Nations communities were evacuated when a wildfire tore through the community last week — many fleeing with little more than the clothes on their backs. Two people have been confirmed dead, nearly every home in the centre of the village has been destroyed, and critical infrastructure wiped out.
Lorie Chrotyk with the BC SPCA says officers were granted access for four hours. In that time they went to 27 properties and found 12 cats, five kittens, four dogs, and 20 farm animals. The organization focused their search based on information they received from people who were forced to leave their pets behind.
“The farm animals are going to foster homes, and the domestic animals will be coming to our animal evacuation centre. Some may have to be checked out with a veterinarian first, but we’ll make sure that those animals get back to their owners, and if the owners don’t have places that they can take them right now, we have the free emergency boarding available for them,” she explains.
“We certainly took every animal that we could find, and if we do get more reports and are allowed to go back in we are standing by to do that.”
Being able to share a bit of good news with evacuees, and reuniting people with their pets is something Chrotyk says can offer comfort during a traumatic time.
“When we’re able to walk through the door and put that animal in their arms, there’s usually tears all around because what’s important in those times of crisis is your family and your loved ones. For so many of us, our pets count among those loved ones. It’s so wonderful to be able to walk in, and let people know that their pets are safe and they’re well and they’re happy,” she says.
“That’s something at least that we can offer them during such a stressful time.”
Evacuees will be going back to the area for the first time since they fled on Friday. Trauma and grief counseling will be provided.