Ontario SPCA helps deliver pet food to First Nations communities facing flooding

Through its community support services, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society delivered pet food to three First Nations communities in Northern Ontario that were facing flooding this past spring. 

The Ontario SPCA is part of a committee that supports First Nation community evacuations through the Ministry of Emergency Management. Our role is to coordinate the purchase and shipment of pet food and supplies to communities when they request support. At the end of April this year, this included three communities facing evacuation due to flooding.  

What is our role?

Our goal is to ensure animals evacuating, as well as those sheltering in place, have the food they need at a time when it can be difficult for the communities to get supplies. At times, we are also asked to provide supplies such as crates, collars and leashes, which we coordinate with local pet supply stores to deliver to the airports as well. 

There’s a lot of moving pieces in this process, but we’re united by the common goal of getting food to the communities who need it, as fast as possible,” says Arista Wogenstahl, Regional Manager, Northern Outreach Services, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. 

Over a period of 24-48hrs, the Ontario SPCA receives information about the number of animals, type of animals, and their dietary needs. Wogenstahl then begins the process of securing supplies.  She then coordinates to get the food delivered to the airport where the Ministry’s team organizes a flight to the Northern communities. 

“It could be anywhere from 10 dogs that have been transferred out of the community, or 80 dogs and some cats sheltering in place in the community that need to be fed,” says Wogenstahl. 

5,000lbs of food delivered

Over the course of three weeks, the Ontario SPCA helped coordinate 5,000lbs of food, crates and supplies to these Northern communities. This process involves many stakeholders including the Tribal Council, Indigenous Services Canada, Ministry of the Solicitor General, airline carriers, and more. 

“Our jobs at the Ontario SPCA are to think about the people and the animals first and knowing that we’re part of this plan to support these communities when they are facing challenges like flooding is very rewarding,” says Wogenstahl. 

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