St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center is coordinating the placement of at least 100 dogs from shelters in Texas to make room for others displaced by Hurricane Harvey. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which left 250,000 animals killed or without a home, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 was introduced to ensure the protection of animals in natural disasters, but its effectiveness is yet to be seen.
Predicting how any animal will behave in a crisis is impossible, she adds, but pets usually do one of four things: Escape; hide far away from people; seek reassurance from their owners; or-in rarer cases-become aggressive, even toward those who may be trying to help. This is too much for any region, and especially for a flood-prone region like southeast Texas, and for Houston, the nation's fourth largest city.
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Dogs being evacuated during Hurricane Harvey.
"We were anxious we wouldn't be able to get back in and take care of the animals", said Clarence Anderson, La Porte's animal control supervisor.
As such, the shelter expects the repercussions of the hurricane to last weeks, if not months. This is the first of several expected flights to Seattle to help shelters that are directly housing displaced pets outside of Houston.
The OHS team will work hand-in-hand with the Houston SPCA, and will provide assistance in caring for animals at a facility located in the Houston area. According to news reports, almost half the people who needed rescue from Katrina refused to leave without their pets, while first responders would not even take service animals. "We knew if we could lighten their load, they can do more to help animals and people on the ground". "[T] hey need all the help they can get".
"We are happy to be able to assist in the disaster relief effort for these animals".
Homeless animals living in Texas shelters are being transported to rescue groups throughout the country as Harvey's floodwaters continue to rise in affected areas of the state.