Nearly a week has passed since southeast Texas residents fled from Hurricane Ike. Since Sunday our Emergency Services team has been stationed in Beaumont, Texas (see a map of the area), sheltering animals and conducting rescues in some of the Gulf Coast communities walloped by Ike’s whipping wind and rushing water.
© The HSUS/Milani
A cat is brought to safety after Ike.
For four days, four teams of HSUS emergency responders and volunteers have been navigating the devastation by truck and boat, combing the area for animals stranded by the storm. They are also responding to calls from distressed guardians who for one reason or another left their pets behind and now worry about their condition.
Our amazingly talented video team has accompanied our animal rescuers on many of their calls, documenting the search and rescue efforts. They prepared this video report from the field, narrated by Emergency Services’ Senior Director Scotlund Haisley, and I hope you enjoy it. I also encourage you to browse our touching photos.
As with any rescue mission, this deployment has had its highs and lows. Letting evacuees know that their pets were located and are safe, and hearing their cries of joy, drives our team. But their spirit wanes as they wade through some of the hardest-hit areas and discover that many of the pets left behind surely perished, swallowed by the storm’s surge.
Knowing that many animals have now gone days without food or water, our team is more determined than ever to get out there and bring even more animals to safety. As the waters continue to recede, our team’s hope and enthusiasm swells. While they feel great about every rescue, they know the best outcome comes when people evacuate with their animals before these storms hit.