(HELP ANIMALS/ANIMAL RESCUE) HOUSTON — In the same type of catastrophic flooding that beset Texas during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, record rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey has battered the nation’s fourth largest city this past week.
The flooding has left 25 dead and caused more than 30,000 people to flee their flooded homes.
While many pets are left behind, animal rescuers remain hopeful that animals will stand a better chance than they did 12 years ago during Hurricane Katrina, which left an estimated 600,000 animals killed or stranded.
Thanks to the passage of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards, which forever changed the way animals are treated during emergency situations, first responders can now rescue pets just as they save people.
Efforts to save animal victims are well underway as floodwaters continue to rise.
Our hearts go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey, and our gratitude goes out to the countless volunteers who have donated their time and finances to help those in need.
Read the New York Times article below for more on the Hurricane and citizens’ tireless efforts to save their beloved pets amid the chaos.
Donate to Help Animals in Need
Global Animal Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that funds emergency animal rescue worldwide, is collecting donations to disperse between vetted organizations working on the ground in the affected areas to help with medical costs for injured animals, boarding and food, and reuniting lost pets with their guardians. Please consider supporting the efforts to save animals in critical peril.
Your compassion in action and support of Global Animal Foundation can help save the lives of animals in crisis.
New York Times, Matthew Haag
When Joe Garcia spotted a rescue boat on Monday outside his flooded home in Spring, a suburb north of Houston, he pushed a plastic tub of his belongings through chest-high water and loaded it on the boat. Then he returned to his home to grab one more prized possession: Heidi, his German shepherd.
Mr. Garcia, his body soaked, carried Heidi through the rising floodwaters, making sure her head stayed dry, and lifted her to safety on a volunteer’s fishing boat. They were whisked away in a moment captured by a photographer with The Associated Press.
Over the past several days, Tropical Storm Harvey has unleashed breathtaking amounts of rain in the Houston area, paralyzing the region and transforming streets into fast-moving rivers. Thousands of people have been displaced, with many still waiting to be rescued.
When people are plucked to safety, they often take with them the clothes on their backs and the few possessions they can carry. For many people, that includes taking their pets, hoisting them onto boats and into high-water vehicles before riding together to dry ground.
But that is not always the case. Many pets have been left behind, abandoned in homes, chained to trees and left for strangers and animal shelters to round up and rescue. And some animals such as cattle were simply too big to move before Harvey arrived.
But Winston and Baxter, a West Highland terrier and a Shih Tzu, were never going to leave Belinda Penn’s side. The floodwaters began to seep through the exterior doors of her home in Spring on Sunday afternoon and started to fill up the first floor.
She and her husband, Scott, grabbed the dogs and retreated to their second floor. The family was upended, but Winston and Baxter had their crates and food on the second floor. It did not matter, though, Ms. Penn said. They were too nervous to eat.
Around 11 a.m. on Monday, a neighbor told the Penns that a rescue boat was on the way. They loaded garbage bags with clothes and dog food, and carried the dogs through the water. On Monday night, they had reached Ms. Penn’s mother’s apartment in the suburb of the Woodlands.
“Every situation is different, but for us, it was not an option to leave our pets behind,” Ms. Penn said. “They are my best friends.”
Other animals were not as fortunate.
A woman in Corpus Christi said on Twitter that she took in her neighbor’s dog left in the backyard. A photographer for The Daily Mail rescued a doghe found chained to a pole in Victoria, waters rising around him, the paper reported. In Dickinson, a CNN reporter spotted two retrievers abandoned in a boat.
In San Antonio, the city’s Animal Care Services Department had taken in about 200 displaced animals as of Monday afternoon. More were on the way.
Rescued dogs were being held in rows of cages in an air-conditioned warehouse east of downtown San Antonio. Cats, for their own peace of mind, were taken to a separate location.
“Our commitment is for as long as it takes and as long as the nation needs our help,” Heber Lefgren, the department’s director, said in an interview.
Some animals already in the shelter’s care before the storm were expected to be flown to animal centers in other states to make room for displaced pets from Harvey. On Tuesday morning, the first flight full of dogs and cats is scheduled to depart San Antonio for New Jersey. On Wednesday, a flight will head to Seattle.
“There’s a likelihood that this could go on for weeks, because as the waters recede, they are going to be finding more and more pets that are displaced,” said Kim Alboum, a director at the Humane Society of the United States, which was organizing the flights.
Pets were also helping rescuers track down people who were stuck in their homes. Marty Lancton and another firefighter in Houston were driving people to rescue in a boat in southwestern Houston when he spotted two dogs on a roof.
“Something didn’t sit right,” Mr. Lancton said, describing why it caught his attention.
The firefighters, their boat already crowded as they ran rescues, pulled closer to the home and soon saw a message on the glass of the front door: “Help.”
“We backed up the boat — the water was almost halfway to three-quarters of the way up the house — we busted the window, tried to call for somebody and the homeowner was in the garage,” said Mr. Lancton, the president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association.
He said he never found out why the dogs were put on the roof. Maybe there was no room in the house. Maybe they were there to catch someone’s attention.
“Either way, it worked,” Mr. Lancton said.
More New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/harvey-pets-animals.html?_r=0