CDART assists over 224 creatures to date during Smith Creek Wildfire response

For Immediate Release

CDART assists over 224 creatures so far during Smith Creek Wildfire response

Kelowna, BC July 18, 2014 – The Okanagan Chapter of the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) has been kept busy during the first two days of the Smith Creek wildfire response in West Kelowna.

CDART is the official responding agency of record for the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO), and therefore is reponsible during emergencies and disasters for assisting evacuees with any domestic animals (including pets and livestock) that need rescue and sheltering.

As of press time, CDART has assisted with over 20 horses, 31 dogs, 28 cats, 87 chickens, 8 turkeys and 50 fish. This assistance includes evacuating and transporting animals, searching for pets in evacuated areas, feeding and watering animals sheltered in place, and egg collection. CDART also arranges fostering for these evacuated animals, vet care if necessary, and can provide evacuees with supplies such as food, litter, crates and leashes if evacuees have a pet-friendly place to stay, but are without basic supplies

Tony Lazarus feeds Lucy the Turkey
CDART volunteer Tony Lazarus feeds Lucy the Turkey during one of several trips into the evacuated areas to provide food and water for animals sheltered in place.

Evacuation of horses on Thursday night was "simply stellar" according to Deborah Silk, CDART Coordinator. Many owners walked them down the road to just get them out of the danger zone, and CDART had haulers ready to pick the horses up at the staging area.
CDART has been doing a lot of "petsitting" as well while people register with ESS. Says Silk, "Good for the dogs because they can just relax while 'Mom and Dad' endure the heat, the crowds, and the noise and all the dogs have to do is relax with us and eat a cookie."

"We've certainly noticed that people seem to be more aware of what to do in emergencies and disasters, which is fantastic", referring to the fact that evacuees with animals are getting the message about being more prepared in advance.

CDART would like to thank the following: TriLake Animal Hospital for fostering some of 'our special guests', and Rexall Pharmacy and Fairfield Animal Hospital for their kindness of food donations.

A small crew of CDART volunteers remains at the reception centre overnight to look after animals sheltered there. Any evacuees that still require assistance with animals can contact them for help. CDART can be reached through Emergency Support Services (ESS) at the reception centre in Mt. Boucherie Secondary School at 2751 Cameron Road, West Kelowna.


About CDART:
CDART stands for Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team, and is made up entirely of volunteers. CDART's mission is to provide emergency services for domestic animals in the event of a disaster, to train volunteers in order that they can provide emergency shelter and rescue for domestic animals when responding during a disaster, and to raise funds for supplies, medical treatment for animals, training costs and expenses incurred by volunteers during a disaster.

Volunteers are mobilized when local authorities request CDART's help and when the Provincial Emergency Program's Emergency Support Services ( is activated. In specific communities, CDART has long-time established teams but will answer requests for help through local, provincial and federal government agencies.

CDART is the emergency animal rescue division of Critteraid, a registered not-for-profit society registered as The Summerland Cat Sanctuary based in Summerland, BC, Canada, and one of the oldest animal charities in the province. You can learn about Critteraid at Learn more about CDART at their web site

Petra Leinemann, Public Information Officer
CDART Okanagan
(250) 317-2484



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