A teeming multitude of pets and other assorted animals are among those still being rescued from Hurricane Harvey-ravaged parts of Texas. To deal with the influx of desperate creatures, busy rescue groups and shelters have been sending their animals to facilities outside of Texas in order to make room for those found in flooded areas.
According to the Houston Chronicle, "The Houston SPCA's Wildlife Center of Texas has already received over 200 storm victims including baby squirrels, opossums, fawns, ducks and rabbits. Animal rescuers and rehabbers are bracing for incoming patients as the floodwaters begin to recede."
The Humane Society has teams on the ground assisting with rescue efforts. Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle wrote, "We are continuing to make ourselves available to emergency management officials with animal needs in Southeast Texas. In Rockport, where the storm made landfall and where there is severe damage, the team did an assessment last night and is working to get supplies for unmet short-term and long-term needs." He also noted:
When I went through Katrina 12 years ago, animal protection groups like The HSUS were the primary safety net for animals. Some first responders left animals behind. Shelters turned people with animals away. We fought with the government to focus some resources on the animal crisis.
Then and there, we vowed to change the legal framework to make sure that animals are not forgotten during disasters. We led the fight for the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS), and that law enacted in 2006 institutionalizes a concern for animals by local and state governments if they hope to get FEMA funds. The law is part of the explanation for the broader cultural awakening to the need to account for the needs of animals.
You can donate to the Humane Society's rescue efforts by texting LOVE to 20222 to donate $10, or donate online here.
Over 70 dogs from San Antonio landed in Morristown, NJ earlier this week; St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center CEO Heather Cammisa said, "When the plane pulled in and the engine stopped, we could hear the barking and our hearts were just so full."
The dogs, who are all good dogs, received hugs upon arrival. St. Huberts says the dogs will be available to meet this weekend; the rescue group is also accepting donations and expects another group of Texan dogs to come later.
The Humane Society and St. Hubert's relied on Wings of Rescue, a group that has a "squadron of volunteer pilots" flying to various parts of the world to bring animals to to safety. On Thursday morning, Wings of Rescue said, "Thanks to your donations Friday Wings of Rescue has already flown 4 flights carrying 390 pets, and are scheduling 4 additional flights carrying pets displaced by Harvey's flooding. Tomorrow 100 dogs and cats are flying from Texas to Oregon and Washington, Saturday 200 dogs and cats will fly from Jefferson Parish Louisiana to Washington D.C., Monday 150 pets will fly who have been driven to Tulsa from Houston to Chicago - and on Tuesday 120 dogs and cats will fly from Louisiana to San Diego."
Many of photographs and videos show Harvey victims carrying their beloved pets as they escape their homes.
— Carson Crosby (@carson_crosby) August 29, 2017
— SOS & Team Chocolate (@SOSLabRescue) August 29, 2017
Others struggled—one man was electrocuted while trying to rescue his sister's cat, while some have had to abandon their animals.
We found him stranded on a car surrounded by floodwater. But I'm glad to report this dog abandoned by his owners has been rescued! pic.twitter.com/6Ggqe64GY9
— J.D. Miles (@jdmiles11) August 29, 2017
Here's my story of the rescue of a brave dog who against the odds found a way to survive Hurricane Harvey https://t.co/M0Ce8UoSO1
— J.D. Miles (@jdmiles11) August 29, 2017
A furniture store chain owner opened his stores for evacuees, making sure to welcome humans and pets alike. And, of course, some animals are being used for comfort:
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) August 31, 2017
A final note: One California shelter dog, who was almost euthanized for being too energetic, is now part of a rescue team too.