Pet shelters, welfare groups step up to meet Harvey's threat

Pet shelters, welfare groups step up to meet Harvey's threat

Pet shelters, welfare groups step up to meet Harvey's threat

The Humane Society of the United States is on the ground with an animal rescue team in southeast Texas working to transport 200 animals from a shelter in San Antonio to create more space for animals coming from the impact zone. 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.

"We are happy to be able to assist in the disaster relief effort for these animals", said Becky Tegze, Executive Director at Pets Alive. This allows local shelters (in Texas and Louisiana) to open cages to take in animals that that were displaced as a direct result of the storm and may have owners looking for them.

Debra Miller, spokeswoman for St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center, told NJ.com that moving the dogs from the shelters will help families affected by the storm stay close to their pets.

With Hurricane Harvey damage totals still piling up, it's estimated that more than 30,000 people have been forced from their homes so far. All five organizations are accepting donations to help cover the costs of the flight and to provide care for the animals once they arrive. People fear they might have to leave their animals behind due to all those rising waters so ABC's senior meteorologist rob Marciano is in Houston with more on what's going on on that angle.

Houston-area animal shelters were filling fast, she said.

Norwood is with the city of San Antonio Animal Care Services, where they are crating up sheltered dogs and cats and sending them to cities across the country to make room for pets separated from their owners during Hurricane Harvey. Almost 200 dogs and cats were taken in by San Antonio's Animal Care Services, including 30 dogs from a flooded shelter in Pleasanton.

In order for an out-of-state agency to assist in a federal disaster area, there has to be an official request from the appropriate agency or emergency official. And in at least one case, two dogs spotted on a roof helped rescue workers find their owner trapped inside his garage.

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