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Evacuated Fort McMurray pets not staying at local animal shelter

The local dog and cat shelter in Lac La Biche isn’t serving as an animal hotel for small pets forced to evacuate Fort McMurray with their owners in the wake of wildfires.  

As of last Friday, three days after an evacuation order was given to bout 8,000 residents of four southern subdivisions of Fort McMurray, 928 evacuees and 261 household pets had registered at the Lac La Biche evacuation centre. 

According to Taylor Knechtel of the Lac La Biche Regional Humane Society, none of these animals are being put up at the local shelter.  

“We have not taken in any animals… we haven’t had anyone come to surrender animals from Fort Mac,” Knechtel told Lakeland This Week, adding that there are a few strays in the area that officials with the Lac La Biche Regional Humane Society believe could have come with the group of evacuees – but they are not sure and cannot confirm it.  

During the 2016 wildfires that caused the mandatory evacuation of 88,000 people in the Fort McMurray area and burned a 589,552-hectare area, several pets that had been left stranded in evacuated homes were rescued. A number of these animals were taken to the Bold Center, boarded in kennels and cages, and looked after by volunteers with the Lac La Biche Regional Humane Society. 

As weather forecasts continue to show precipitation and cooler temperatures for the coming week, evacuees – both two-legged and four – are expected to return to their homes by May 21. 

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