Red Deer SPCA animal care manager Amy Corpe holds Jax in a cat room at the SPCA on Friday. Jax is one of 41 cats and 10 rabbits dropped off at the SPCA in Red Deer Thursday that have been evacuated from Fort McMurray. All but eight of the cats have been identified and the owners have been located. Along with these 51 animals

Red Deer SPCA taking in pets from Fort McMurray

Red Deer & District SPCA is caring for 51 more pets evacuated from Fort McMurray.

Red Deer & District SPCA is caring for 51 more pets evacuated from Fort McMurray.

The 41 cats and 10 rabbits arrived at the SPCA Thursday night after the Fort McMurray People and Animal Reunion Centre in Edmonton closed and pets were dispersed to other SPCA’s and Humane Societies.

The Red Deer SPCA already has 30 dogs, cats and reptiles from Fort McMurray whose owners brought them in for emergency boarding.

Tara Hellewell, executive director of Red Deer & District SPCA, said the newest arrivals look a little bewildered after being moved again.

“I think they’re all taking it in stride which is really good. They all appear healthy,” Hellewell said on Friday.

She said every effort is being made to find the owners. Many of them did not have a collar or microchip or tattoo and that makes it harder to connect them to their families.

At some point they will be put up for adoption if no one can be found. Two pets have already been surrendered to the SPCA, she said.

“Some of them may end up making that difficult decision. If they’ve lost their home to fire, they could be looking at a six to eight month rebuild. Finding a temporary location that will accept an animal can be challenging.”

The local SPCA will soon have a link on their website to photos of the pets.

Hellewell said SPCAs and Humane Societies have worked well together and supported each other in any way they could to save the Fort McMurray pets.

Red Deer SPCA has been working to get its shelter space ready for pets rescued from the wildfire and was also invited to send one worker to Fort McMurray to help evacuate stranded pets.

The local SPCA has no more room to accept any more donations of food or pet supplies, but is looking for cash donations or gift cards to PetSmart to assist with pet care.

“Taking care of 80 animals is a big burden for our shelter. The cost of care is going to be high.”

The SPCA is open Saturday and Sunday to accept donations but is closed on Victoria Day. Donations can also be made at online at

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