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As more than 80,000 Fort McMurray residents fled the flames of a massive wildfire a week ago, many were forced to leave companions behind: Their beloved pets.

New hope for pets stranded in Fort McMurray


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Sunday, May 8, 2016, 6:35 PM - As more than 80,000 Fort McMurray residents fled the flames of a massive wildfire a week ago, many were forced to leave companions behind: Their beloved pets.

Now, with firefighters successfully holding the flames, and with winds blowing them away from the city, Premier Rachel Notley says the RCMP, the SPCA, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry have been looking into reports of pets left behind.

"As soon as it was safe to do so, teams began going to locations where people reported pets had been left behind to give them food and water, and have also been keeping an eye out for animals in the streets," Notley said at a Sunday press briefing. "The SPCA is now requesting that anyone with pets left behind, please register with them online. They’ll contact you in coming days regarding your pets."


FORT MCMURRAY FIRE COVERAGE: 


The Fort Mac Fire - Pet Rescue Facebook page has more than 3,800 members, and several small groups ventured into the city over the past few days in an effort to find stranded pets.

One group told the Globe and Mail they'd received that thousands of emails from worried pet owners as of Sunday, and some members of the Facebook group rescued some 230 pets on Wednesday and Thursday.

However, authorities have attempted to keep non-essential personnel out of the city, and pet rescue groups were ejected from the city on Thursday and Friday. 

Sam Sansalone, whom the Globe identifies as having a "leadership role" in the pet rescue Facebook group, said authorities told him they feared looters may use the guise of rescuing pets to rob homes. 

Even if pet rescue attempts step up in the coming days, one would-be rescuer, Tim McHaffie, told the Globe a sad sight might await in the empty city.

"It’s been days now. How long have these animals been there without food and water? There’s a good chunk of them that’s probably not going to be living."

Watch more: A mother's firsthand account of the Fort McMurray escape 

SOURCE: Globe and Mail

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