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Yellowknifers asked to help animals evacuated from Behchokǫ̀ wildfire

Dogs waiting to be adopted at the NWT SPCA in Yellowknife
A file photo of dogs waiting to be adopted at the NWT SPCA in Yellowknife. Photo: NWT SPCA


Veterinarians Without Borders and the NWT SPCA say help is needed to give shelter to Behchokǫ̀ evacuees’ pets.

The two groups have been helping to provide emergency veterinary care, pet food and shelter to the many animals arriving after Behchokǫ̀’s wildfire-induced evacuation on Monday.

But in a Wednesday press release, the groups said some evacuated animals are being left in vehicles – government-provided accommodation like the evacuee centre does not permit animals indoors – and already limited resources are being strained.

“Volunteers were able to evacuate numerous animals that remained in the community via automobiles and planes,” said Dr Michelle Tuma, Veterinarians Without Borders’ northern Canada veterinary specialist.



“Once these animals arrive in Yellowknife, the priority is to secure shelter and food for them,” she said.

More animals are understood to be on the way, with services already stretched.

“As many of our local boarding facilities and our one shelter, the NWT SPCA, are currently full, this has become a community effort,” said Tuma.

“We’re encouraging anyone who might have space at their home or properties to temporarily house an animal.”



Nicole Spencer, executive director of the NWT SPCA, also asked for “oriented volunteers to come in and help clean and walk dogs.”

Although the NWT SPCA is currently full, there are still spaces at some kennels in Yellowknife.

After this article was first published, Qimmiq Kennels’ Jo Kelly told Cabin Radio in an email that Qimmiq, the Yellowknife boarding kennel, still has space available.

“We have made special arrangements to prepare extra kennels for the incoming evacuees, and have spaces still available until further notice,” said Kelly on Wednesday afternoon.

“Our kennel is still a stress-free option, and there are no charges to owners for these services as a variety of funding is supporting our care of these animals.”

To be put on the pet foster home coordination list, you can email Premier Caroline Cochrane’s constituency office. SPCA foster homes who are available to help dogs at the shelter can contact

Donations to Veterinarians Without Borders’ emergency response effort can be made via the Northern Animal Health Initiative website.