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How to Help Animals Affected by Hurricane Harvey

We all hoped for the best with Hurricane Harvey, but Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago taught us to prepare for the worst. In that storm, a reported 250,000 pets and 2,000 humans lost their lives — some because they refused to leave their beloved pets behind. After Hurricane Katrina, federal leaders unanimously passed Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006, guaranteeing that rescue operations would focus on the needs of furry family members in future emergency evacuation situations.

With officials directing Gulf Coast residents to stay home as Hurricane Harvey approached, many stayed put with their animals. Then came the storm nobody anticipated — as it intensified, folks were more apt to grab their pets this time around, knowing they are generally welcome on Cajun Navy boats and in emergency shelters than they were in the wake of Katrina. Still, it is inevitable that some pets and livestock are ending up lost, stranded, run away or otherwise disconnected from their humans.

A dog in a shelter.

Photography by Shutterstock.

This is where local and national animal rescue organizations are stepping up, and we can help! Dozens of rescues as far away as Atlanta, New Jersey and Chicago are accepting existing adoptable pets (animals that were already homeless, awaiting adoption before the hurricane) to make room for the influx of lost and founds.

A few high-level rescues have sent their expert emergency search and rescue teams in to assess needs and develop rescue plans. Houston SPCA reported to Dogster that they’ve received 4,000 pounds of cat and dog food from Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Chewy.com has delivered a tractor trailer full of food and crates. PetSmart Charities has given one million dollars in grants to several humane rescues in affected areas.

Donations are urgently needed to feed pets that were able to remain with their humans, support efforts to make room for incoming strays, pay professional staff (who are all surely exhausted and working overtime), provide massive quantities of supplies and more.

Below are links to organizations accepting donations, ways to helping reunite pets and their people and other information on how you can support.

Lost and Found for Pets in Areas Affected by Hurricane Harvey

A puppy with a first aid kit.

Puppy with first aid kit. Photography by Shutterstock.

For local residents who may have lost a beloved pet or who are fostering a found pet until his or her owner can be located, there are some useful website and apps to share lost and found listings to assist reunions.

VetsPlusMore app

iPhone app

Android app

Paw Boost app

iPhone app

Android app

Once safe to travel, if they don’t already have a coordinator helping with this task, ask your local animal care and control center if you may post a photo with a description of your lost pet and your contact info. Keep an eye out for social media pages dedicated to lost and found Hurricane Harvey pets. But be wary of heartless scammers asking for money in exchange for your pet. This is not okay, and is rarely legit.

How to Help and Donate to Animals Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Dog in shelter by Shutterstock.

Photography by Shutterstock.

Houston SPCA

With Houston being one of the hardest hit areas by the storm, it is currently operating with a skeleton staff of folks able to safely make their way to the shelter. Nonetheless, it is feverishly answering calls for animal rescue. In the area, call 713-861-3010 for emergency-only rescue assistance. Spokesperson Julie Kuenstle reports they also anticipate hundreds of injured and orphaned wildlife intakes as flood waters recede. Donations can be made here.

San Antonio Humane Society

This shelter is currently housing at least 19 pets for owners with no other place to leave them, as well as a couple dozen strays, with hundreds more expecting in the coming days and weeks. The cost for current intakes alone has topped $25,000 (for staff, supplies, vaccinations, housing, etc.). Donations can be made here.

Austin Pets Alive!

Safe from the harm of hurricane weather, this facility has transported over 330 animals already and expects to take in hundreds more over the next few days. With a stock of animals already waiting to be adopted (these are not orphans from the storm), this is a great place to find your next best friend or volunteer to foster some of the more vulnerable animals (preferably in homes with no other pets). Links to its donate button and wish list of supply needs are here.

Wings of Rescue

This amazing, unique animal rescue has chartered several flights already to evacuate homeless animals from the San Antonio area to make room for the influx of lost and surrendered pets to come. Founder Cindy Smith told Dogster they flew 100 dogs to Saint Hubert Humane Society, 88 dogs and 22 cats to Rancho Coastal Humane Society, Labs and Friends and San Diego Humane Society, have another flight going to Oregon and Washington on Wednesday, and another 250 flying out to a yet to be determined location on Saturday. Smith says they’ll continue to evacuate as many animals as donations allow, in order to make room for hurricane victims. Donations can be made here.

Humane Society of Missouri

This St. Louis-area organization has reportedly taken in 55 dogs already, to make room for incoming hurricane strays. They recently announced on Facebook that they’re sending a rescue team to Harris Country, Texas to transport dozens more out of harm’s way. Donations can be made here.

Louisiana SPCA

Not safely out of the storm’s path themselves, this shelter transported over 100 animals to Greater Birmingham Humane Society to make room for local needs post-storm. Another flight is planned to remove another 100 animals this week, allowing them to partner with Houston SPCA and Texas SPCA to take in any animals as needed. Louisiana SPCA is has also made preparation for local rescue, should the need arise. For emergency-only help in New Orleans, call 504-368-5191 x 100. Donations can be made here.

PAWS Chicago

Old hands at helping its friends in the south, PAWS Chicago did a trip ahead of the storm to bring 26 ready-to-be-adopted cats and dogs to Chicago. Representative Sarah McDonald informed Dogster that its team is gearing up to make a second caravan to Texas with its medical staff and volunteers as soon are roadways are safe for travel — and surely bring more in-need animals back to Chicago, making room for pets lost or orphaned in the hurricane to be reunited with their Texas families. Donations can be made here.

ASPCA of New York City

The expertly trained search and rescue crew of this group have deployed with a fleet of boats and trailers to assist with emergency rescues. As the storm settles and more needs are assessed, ASPCA will further develop an assistance plan to reunite Texans with their beloved pets and livestock. Donations can be made here.

Best Friends Animal Society

With a team trained for natural disaster and extreme rescue situations, animals of all kinds are in good hands when rescued by this group. They have a view in Houston with boats, a state-of-the-art animal rescue trailer and partnerships with other state and federal agencies to seek and rescue as many lives as possible in the coming days. Best Friends staff is also transporting animals to Austin Pets Alive! for care, and prepping them for foster and adoption, in order to make room in the Houston area for incoming hurricane victims. As with all rescues, plans are still developing as the dire situation is addressed. Donations can be made here.

Humane Society of the United States

At the forefront of the Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts, and largely responsible for the passing of subsequent legislation protecting pets in times of emergency evacuation, it’s no surprise the Humane Society of the United States is well-prepared to assist before, during and after Hurricane Harvey. They’ve been on the ground in Texas since last week, evacuating homeless shelter animals in preparation for an influx of strays and surrenders of biblical proportions this week. So far, they’ve deployed expert search and rescue teams to Texas City, Dickinson and League City, Texas and are partnering with countless local and national organizations on coordinating efforts, keeping the public informed and developing a safe and strategic plan to secure as many stranded, injured and found animals of all kinds. Text LOVE to 20222 to donate $10 to HSUS Disaster Relief Fund. Donations can be made here.

Friends For Life Animal Rescue and Adoption Organization—Houston

This organization is on the ground in Houston helping make stories like this one about Gabrielle and her 4-month-old kitten, Aurora, possible. Make a donation here.

More organizations to support: 

Note: The situation is still unfolding and the flooded areas are still too dangerous to enter without professional rescue assistance. Thus, many are waiting for rains to subside to find out the full scope of damage, loss and needs of local animal rescues in the area. We will do our best to edit and augment this list as more information is available and the situation unfolds. Please donate and help in any way you can!

As always, research organizations before donating to make sure you are OK with how your money will be spent (on animals, salary, marketing, etc.).

Tell us: How are you helping animals affected by Hurricane Harvey? Please share any links and additional ways to help in our comments section!

Thumbnail: Photography by Shutterstock.

The post How to Help Animals Affected by Hurricane Harvey appeared first on Dogster.


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