The pet community learned a few things after Katrina. Around 250,000 dogs and cats were displaced, and as many as 150,000 died. Stories abound of people finally rescued by the Coast Guard or other agencies after spending the night struggling to save their pets, only to be told they couldn’t take their dog or cat with them.
Something good came out of that disaster. The Pet Evacuation Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006 was enacted. This law requires state and local governments to consider pets and service animals as part of their evacuation plans before, during and after a major disaster.
That’s good news. But while the images coming out of Texas show people carrying their dogs and cats through chest-high floodwater or pulling boats filled with local pets, there are still many dogs, cats and farm animals that were not so lucky.
On social media, dog lovers around the globe are wondering how they can help the thousands of stranded, abandoned and displaced pets. Here are some suggestions:
1. Donate to the Humane Society of the United States
The HSUS is on the ground in Texas, helping local groups evacuate their animals from flooded shelters and private homes. They’ve been working with local officials to rescue animals and transport them to safety. On Wednesday afternoon, they were in Dickson and League City, and moving animals out of San Antonio. You can donate here. Or you can text LOVE to 20222 to donate $10.
2. Austin Pets Alive!
Austin Pets Alive! Is a no-kill shelter and advocacy group. They are asking for donations of equipment and seeking volunteers. The list of things they need can be found on their Hurricane Harvey page. The list includes things like wire dog crates, sheets, towels, aluminum and Styrofoam food bowls, pet food, cat litter and other items. They have already saved over 600 animals, and many more are on their way. You can also donate money for them to buy these supplies.
3. SPCA of Texas
The SPCA of Texas has already taken in hundreds of animals. They are in desperate need of fosters, so they can free up more space at their shelters. They also need donations or in-kind donations of cat litter, litter boxes, towels, blankets, large wire crates, toys, treats, pet beds, newspaper and gas gift cards. These donations can be brought to the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center in Dallas or the SPCA of Texas’ Russell H. Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney.
4. Animal Defense League of Texas
If you haven’t heard of the Animal Defense League, now’s the time to check them out. They are a group of lawyers dedicated to changing the laws that govern the humane treatment of animals everywhere. They also donate their time to work on specific cases of animal cruelty and related issues. The Animal Defense League of Texas is sheltering many displaced animals, and they are in serious need of volunteers, supplies, fosters and donations.
5. San Antonio Humane Society
The SAHS is looking for people to adopt or foster, so they can free up space to take in more Hurricane Harvey animals. They have taken in close to 100 animals for families that evacuated to places where they cannot take their pets. They plan to house them as long as necessary so these families can have peace of mind until they rebuild their homes and can once again take care of them. For pets that will need to be rehomed, they are looking for adoptees to provide forever homes. They are seeking fosters, volunteers, donations, and supplies including blankets, food, paper towels, toys, cat litter, harness, and other items on their wishlist.
6. Houston Humane Society
The Houston Humane Society is open, but they’re operating with a skeleton crew. They are asking for donations specifically for their Hurricane Harvey Fund. They are working to help overcrowded shelters in the area transport their animals to shelters in other states, partnering with organizations including Wings of Rescue, who flies large numbers of at-risk pets long distances to no-kill shelter.
7. Greater Good and I Heart Dogs
GreaterGood, an organization that locates, funds and operates programs that protect people, pets, and the planet, has teamed up with I Heart Dogs and I Heart Cats to provide immediate help to people and their pets in Texas. They are on the ground in the most hard-hit areas with the highest floodwaters. If you make a donation here, 100 percent will go to Hurricane Harvey victims.
8. Tune into social media.
Stay on top of social media to get the latest updates and find out about the most urgent situations and how to help. If you are thinking about adopting, now is a great time to make that a reality. Check out the websites of shelters taking in Hurricane Harvey dogs and cats. Many will be willing and able to transport their animals out of state.