Texas has never seen a storm like Hurricane Harvey before. The overwhelming majority of Harvey’s rains are over, and we have a new calculation for the total volume of water it dispensed on U.S. soil: 33 trillion gallons. This number incorporates the rainfall not only in Texas and Louisiana, but also in Tennessee and Kentucky, which also experienced torrents.
The devastation Hurricane Harvey slowly is leaving behind includes at least 31 people dead and up to 40,000 homes destroyed. What we don’t yet know is the toll it has left on pets caught up in the flood or left behind by their owners, fleeing to save their lives.
Animal rescue officials on the soggy ground say they can’t begin to estimate how many pets have been displaced by the hurricane and subsequent flooding. In Houston alone, a city of 2.3 million, there likely are thousands upon thousands of pets in need.
Our Fur Babies needs our help now more than ever. Here is a list of organizations that have stepped up to help.
- RedRover, a national nonprofit animal welfare organization based in Sacramento, is in Texas to help the SPCA of Texas provide daily care and comfort for animals rescued and relocated to Dallas, Texas.
- Wings of Rescue, based in Livermore, is a group of volunteer pilots who fly pets to areas where they stand better chances of being adopted. In this case, they are flying pets to safer parts of the country, where they will be cared for until they can be reunited with their owners or found new homes. The group already has flown more than 300 dogs and cats to shelters in other states. The group is working with the Humane Society of the United States, Greater Good, Freekibble and Rescue Bank.
- AKC Reunite Canine Support and Relief Fund, which has donated more than $6 million since 2001 for disaster preparedness and relief causes that impact our nation’s pets, is helping out with the pet recovery and care going on in Texas and in Oregon with the wildfires. The group has workers in the field and also is raising money to support the shelters that are caring for the displaced animals. Donations made to the group from now until Sept. 20, will be matched, up to $10,000 in a challenge grant from Barbara and Bob Amen.
- The AKC Humane Fund has donated $10,000 through its “Sandy Fund” to the city of Houston to aid in relief efforts. The donation was made to the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the Hurricane Harvey Relief fund created by MayorSylvester Turner. The Sandy Fund allows AKC clubs and affiliated organizations to provide assistance for pets and their owners in their own communities during a time of disaster.
- World Pet Association is coordinating efforts with their members including manufacturers, retailers and distributors across the country in order to organize efforts and support immediate and ongoing needs in Texas.
- The Farmer’s Dog is supporting Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, a New Jersey-based organization that mobilized to welcome 78 shelter dogs from Texas this week. The pet food company donated food to the shelter and has created an Amazon.com wish list where people can purchase items and have them shipped to The Farmer’s Dog, for delivery to the shelter next weekend, Sept. 9-10.
- American Humane Association’s animal first responders are leading two deployments in the disaster area: Orange Grove near Corpus Christi and The Woodlands near Houston. They are providing rescue rigs, rescue staff, and trained first responder volunteers. They are also accepting donation of funds or supplies to utilize for these efforts.
- American Pet Products Association is coordinating efforts with more than 1,200 pet product manufacturers to solicit donations, supplies, and assist in animal care efforts.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association is providing reimbursement grants for veterinarians volunteering to assist and its Board of Directors unanimously voted to contribute $100,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. To donate use the code “Disaster Relief.”
- Mars Petcare has deployed sponsored canine search and rescue teams from National Disaster Search Dog Foundation to the Austin area to help. They will send more than 40,000 pounds of their food for pets in the area who are in immediate need of help.
- Pet Food Institute members are working through their relationships with emergency relief organizations, foundations, partner shelters, and retailers to coordinate shipping of supplies and food to Texas. The organization is helping to identify additional alternatives as current hub, Rescue Bank, is currently inaccessible.
- Pet Industry Distributors Association is working with their distributors with facilities in Texas to coordinate distribution centers.
- Petco Foundation has committed $2.3 million with product donations or grant support to nearly 20 organizations affected directly by Harvey or those taking in animals from other locations. They will continue to provide additional resources to support the ongoing response to threats of flooding, and forthcoming recovery efforts. They are also collecting donations from vendors and staging at warehouse locations in Texas, with additional opportunities in Louisiana.
- Petmate, based in Arlington Texas, is donating needed supplies to shelters and rescue organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including the Humane Society of North Texas, SPCA of Texas and Rescue Bank Dallas, to aid in efforts at housing thousands of displaced pets. They’ve also provided crates, kennels, leashes, blankets and more to several rescue teams and charity partners such as the MuttNation Foundation and Jackson Galaxy Foundation, which are making heroic and life-saving trips to Houston and the surrounding areas to transport pets out of the affected areas. Petmate employees also are collecting funds for the American Red Cross on behalf of the company.
- PetSmart Charities has allocated an initial $1 million in emergency relief funding to assist animal welfare agencies working on the front lines to help pets and pet parents. Additionally, the organization is providing truckloads of pet supplies to the affected areas in Texas and is on track to deliver more than 100,000 pounds of donated pet food generated from PetSmart’s Buy A Bag, Give A Meal philanthropic program in the next week.
All of these organizations are in desperate need of volunteers and the generosity of donors, as our shelters are increasingly getting overloaded with rescued animals. Please join 4Knines in supporting any of these deserving charitable organizations with your donation, time, home, food, supplies, anything you can give. There are many other ways to help including volunteering, sponsorship and fostering.