The crisis in Texas, and the urgent call to help animals and people

By on August 28, 2017 with 122 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

What’s happening in Texas is a singular, destructive, and perilous moment for the state’s human residents. That’s true for the animals, too. The HSUS is there, on the ground, committed to helping all the victims, especially the animals, because that is our special charge.

By mid-day Sunday, the combination of Hurricane Harvey and the tropical storm it morphed into had dumped nine trillion gallons of water on Houston and other parts of Southeast Texas. Forecasters have captured our attention with multi-colored satellite images showing bands of rain still pelting the region, with predictions of 50 inches of precipitation falling in certain areas. 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.

This volume of water has nowhere to go but up, and it’s flooding homes and trapping people and their pets. It’s putting confused and nervous animals in life-threatening situations. Cattle and horses in pastures are at risk, and ranchers and others are trying to drive them to higher ground. The effects on wildlife are almost impossible to measure.

The images of despair and rescue on social media and on television remind us how our lives are bound up with animals. People are leaving behind their material possessions but carrying their dogs on their shoulders, in their arms, or in crates or carriers. Unlike during Katrina, first responders understand the power of the human-animal bond, and know that saving the animals is part of their responsibility now, too. Many Good Samaritans are reminding people that they are especially on the lookout for animals as they go house to house in small boats, looking for individuals in crisis.

The HSUS Animal Rescue Team arrived today in Texas City, which has been affected by torrential rain. They are working with local agencies and law enforcement to assess the greatest need there. Photo by The HSUS

After Hurricane Katrina, The HSUS upgraded its disaster response capability, noting that enormous weather events require an organization with the ability to meet the challenge. The effects of this long-running weather event stretch over 50 counties, and no single organization can handle anything on this scale. That’s why we are partnering with local and national groups to respond, and we are doing the same with local and state government authorities to make sure that the animals are not cast aside in this crisis.

We are working to transport 200 animals from San Antonio, to create more space for animals coming from the battered and deluged areas. We are also working with the Houston Humane Society and other local groups to relieve the pressure on overcrowded shelters. We’ll be bringing animals, with partners like Wings of Rescue and, to states as far off as Washington and New Jersey. And we’ll rely on our friends nearby, especially in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Mind you, we worked well in advance of the storm making landfall to evacuate animals from the impact area, and we worked with our friends at the SPCA of Texas in Dallas to handle large shipments of animals to keep them out of harm’s way.

The town of Texas City, which is between Galveston and Houston, has also been affected by the torrential rain, and our team is there now. We’ll be doing whatever is necessary, whether it’s supporting established emergency shelters or going door to door to conduct rescues. We’ll be working with other communities as need be, with similar agreements.

Remember, we are not even 72 hours into this storm. At this stage during Katrina, we had no idea that the animal rescue would stretch on for seven weeks — a race against time in an evacuated city, also flooded to a remarkable degree. Who knows what this crisis will bring, and how long it will endure? But we’ll do our best to meet whatever it throws at people and animals. We are deploying so many of our assets to respond, in order to help the people and the animals of Texas. We’re committing to see this crisis through, no matter how long the road to recovery, and we hope you’ll be there for us every step of the way.

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  1. Jillian says:

    I have a 17 1/2 ft v bottom G3 fish-n-ski boat and live in Eastern PA. (Also have 2 kayaks, SUP board, and tube). Would it be helpful to tow my boat down to TX?

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      Hi Jillian, I am the blog editor. Thanks for your message. Beyond those trained responders who were contacted, it is imperative that no one go to the area on their own or self-deploy. The HSUS won’t be able to use those volunteers and there are a lot of volunteers in state with training that are on standby to help when called. If people who self deploy come, and get stranded, emergency response attention must then add them to the long list of rescue, and divert attention away from the existing priority rescue work. It’s simply too dangerous.

      • Barbara Tyler says:

        Lucy Noland‏ @LucyNolandFOX29

        #EMERGENCY 30 dogs & cats remain trapped at 413 Speights Loop Road
        Hankamer, TX 77560. $3,000 reward to save them ASAP @FOX29philly PLZ RT!
        Pix of these poor, cged animals are on her twitter and on
        CAN U HELP THEM?

        • Dianne Bateman says:

          Rescued? If no post on twitter or Facebook. Nobody is going to see it here. I live too far away. Sorry

        • Mitsi Bennett says:

          Were these animals helped? I’m a DVM willing to help out.

        • Sally Sandusky says:

          I live in CO and I know there is a group in Houston from Longmont CO helping rescue animals. I can foster a dog or dogs temporarily if needed. I have one very mellow female golden. Cannot take cats.

        • Crystal Giddens says:

          Have they been rescued?? I have a friend that drove to Texas to help.

        • Melissa says:

          Were they rescued??? I’ll pay for rescue dame it !!!! Go get them now!!!!

        • elizabeth says:

          They were all rescued along with a pig.

        • S Noll says:

          I’m trying to reach out to someone in Houston area to see if there is a way that myself can come down from Kansas to help volunteer with the animals for a few days. Is there somebody I can in contact at SPCA or Humane Society. If anybody has any ideas could they please let me know thank you

      • Maryann Thorpe says:

        Yes get here quicknot true volunteer s with no training are making major impact on rescues trained personae are way overworked

      • Marsha Schloesser says:

        Hi, we are in Florida, collecting cages and supplies for all of you…we can get the truckers. Is there an address where to bring these to (out of the area that you are accessing?

        • Vaishali Honawar says:

          Hi Marsha, The best thing for out of state folks to do at this point is donate money and supplies to impacted shelters and those that are taking in animals. Please check with those organizations before sending supplies to make sure what you want to send is actually needed and helpful; several impacted shelters have lists of their top needs on their websites. Below are some of the impacted shelters in the area that have posted online wishlists:

          The SPCA of Texas Wishlist
          Austin Humane Society Wishlist
          SPCA of Brazoria County Wishlist
          Houston Humane Society Wishlist
          San Antonio Humane Society Wishlist

      • Dawn Reeckmann says:

        I would like to know how I can help with displaced cats/kittens. I have cats so to try to bring in a dog which I would love to it would be too much on my kitties who are both indoor cats” how can I help. I wouldn’t mind going to texas to help. Please guide me

      • Kathryn Burton says:

        What is the best organization helping rescue animals?

        • M smith says:

          The Houston SPCA is excellent and puts a lot of its funding toward helping animals who are abused, neglected, or in trouble.
          Also, if you just want to donate dog and cat stuff, since huge donations of food and other supplies to every place there is a need. You can donate and buy something on their website and they will send it to The area of need.

      • dave says:

        Is anyone montoring this site and giving help to those needing animal rescue

        • Vaishali Honawar says:

          The HSUS Animal Rescue Team is deployed in Texas, where we are working with local officials to transport, rescue and care for animals. We have enlisted the help of our Emergency Placement Partners to assist with the evacuations of some affected animals. We are posting updates about our response efforts regularly on The HSUS Texas State Facebook page and you can also keep up with Wayne’s blog here to learn about our latest rescue efforts. If anyone knows of a pet that needs rescue, please call 2-1-1.

      • devo says:

        we have a small animal sanctuary west of Kerrville. We can take in some chinchillas, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens or ducks, either temporarily, or permanently.
        I am also in touch with a couple of other rescues that could probably take in rabbits, guinea pigs.
        Our sanctuary email is

      • Ashley says:

        What can we do if we are able bodied and available? Ashley

    • Caitlin watson says:

      Check out Remote Area Medical (RAM) they need volunteers with boats!!!
      There is a number you can call to get more information

    • Shivali says:

      Hi Jillian!

      I am from Texoma (north texas) and they’ve urged anyone with a boat to come help. If that’s something in your capacity and you’re able to come down, please do! EMS isn’t able to reach anyone right away and they need all the help that they can get!!!

      • Courtney cavanagh says:

        Do you know if it’s helpful to fly into anywhere in Texas to help? Would love to do whatever I can.

      • Albert says:

        This is Albert from los Angeles were going to go help but get to the safe area and tell them men power to help

    • Sheila says:

      yes would you? animals and ppl need help! even one life is worth going!! If I were young I would be there! I love animals! 💞

    • Susan says:

      Swing by and pick me up in NC! Lol
      20 year vet tech! Rabies vaccinated!

    • Ellen Ganey says:

      Hi wanted to post that I have a 4 horse trailer with living quarters . Im in Nashville Tn I can leave tonight but I dont know where to post can u give me some ideas .
      Ps. I am also a first responder I worked Katrina under fema

      • Jackie Gentner says:

        Hi Ellen,
        If you hear from anyone for fostering some horses, i live in Indiana and have a small horse farm. Could house up to 7. Was researching to figure out how to provide some temporary help to those in need and saw your post

    • Melissa says:

      If it were my pets sorry I’d go get them!!!!

    • Ted Roberts says:

      yes and I’ll go with you to help .just ccontact me (856-) 729 -6535. Ted Roberts.

    • Sharon Salmon says:

      If you go please tell me when and I would love to pitch in with gas money. I am in NYC and want to help actively and get down there.

  2. Deedee D. says:

    This is a PM I received from someone who needs immediate help to try to rescue/save their 12 y.o. German Shepherd left behind:

    Lisa Carr‎ to Hurricane Harvey Animal Rescue Needs & Offers to Help – Texas 8/2017
    20 hrs ago·

    PLEASE I live off Aldine-Mail Rt. I had to leave my 12 year old German Shepherd due to high water in our subdivision.My heart is breaking. She has been a good and faithful companion snd doesn’t deserve this. Please, I’m begging. Is there anyone who can offer assistance in getting her? I’ll reimburse any fees

    We attempted to go back to my home. The water was too high and extremely cold. We were unable to make it into the subdivision. At this time, as far as I know she is still in the house. I continue to pray and contact anyone who I think can assist in her rescue. This page has invaluable, my post has been reshared by many, I am thankful from the bottom of my heart for you efforts. PLEASE keep praying


    Lisa Carr
    12310 Kidlington CT
    Houston 77039

  3. Joyce Sexton says:

    I just sent $100.00 to help with the rescue efforts in Texas. I have noticed people are carrying their animals with them. I know the H.S.U.S. Wll provide help where needed, and for as long as they are needed❤️❤️Thank you for all that you do for those who can’t speak for themselves.

    • Jeffrey Cook says:

      Who exactly did you send it to? I wish to do the same but am afraid my $ will not be used as intended. Can u provide a “specific” address and/or person. Thanks.
      Jeff in Illinois

  4. Melissa says:

    I have shelter and veterinary hospital experience. I volunteered with HSUS after Hurricane Katrina. I worked at a temporary animal shelter set up in Hattiesburg, MS. I’m assuming temporary shelters will be needed and set up for pets affected by Hurricane Harvey. I would like to offer my help in Texas. Who should I contact about volunteering? I know there are many other experienced people who volunteered with me in Hattiesburg that would also like to help in Texas. Hoping someone with HSUS can direct us to the person or persons coordinating the emergency response for animal in Texas. Thank you.

  5. Melissa says:

    The email signup for subscribing to this blog is NOT working. It’s not accepting valid email addresses.

  6. Anna says:

    If we live 45 min away from Houston is there any way someone could meet us half way and we could foster some cats? Let me know!

  7. Jeanine says:

    Hi i am an EMT in Ny, can I come down and help?

  8. Laurie Olsziewski says:

    New York HSUS volunteer and vet assistant ready and willing to get there and help for however long I am needed. Just say the word.

  9. Beverly T says:

    Sent some money to you from our home here in Toronto, Canada in hopes it will help you save as many animals in need during this extraordinary time! Good Luck, God Bless!

  10. Lisa says:

    Has someone helped Deedee D. that posted on Aug. 28th at 4:20 p.m for help in rescuing her 12 yr. old Shepard that was left behind. She attempted to go back but couldn’t because the water was too deep. Can anyone confirm that this dog was rescued or not yet? Can Deedee D. let those of us who are concerned, know if Kasper was retrieved or not? I’m praying that she did get help. How sad. I would take my boat there if I lived in Texas, but I’m up in Michigan. Got to believe that someone could help her out.

  11. Susy says:

    Can we get an update re: Deedee D’s post and the German Shepherd left in a subdivision please? Lisa Carr’s dog.

  12. Elise says:

    Here is something I found about fostering:

    Additionally, the SPCA of Texas is putting out a call for foster homes to help us care for the animals already in our shelters and those coming from the Gulf Coast. It is easy to sign up at We will continue to need fosters for the pets in our care as we bring in more animals.

  13. Rachel Carrozza says:

    If I want to start a fundraiser what organization name is this under and the address to send the proceeds? Thank you!

  14. Vicky Ruefer says:

    I am a 501 c3 licenced rescue and shelter with a full foster program in Dubuque Iowa, please someone message me at 563-451-5399 we want to help or

  15. Laura Carle says:

    Have you been able to rescue any parrots or caged animals? I have parrots and can’t imagine having to leave them behind!! Thank you for all your doing. I would help but live in Washington State. I am praying for you all and especially all the animals!!

  16. Luz Vega says:

    I hv 2 bd tms open of i can assit a family with need i am willing to help out

  17. Luz Vega says:

    My heart goes to all the family in disaster. God Bless all. Im not reach but i hv 2 bd rms availble in my home.

  18. Douglas Palmer says:

    Yes finally, I too did animal search and rescue with HSUS POST katrina. I continued to voluntary animal rescue with the HSUS Animal Rescue Team for 8 years. Ooooh Wayne I sooo want deploy to Texas with HSUS TO HELP.

  19. Christy Gatto says:

    How do people that need help contact you? Please contact the Dallas Dogs RRR they got most dog out but have nothing for them and some are still at there shelter.

    Please help them. I don’t know them personally just saw their post on Facebook.

  20. Valerie says:

    I have around 100 leashes and collars of all sizes from my store…..who can I donate these to for them to get down to Texas?

    • Sofia says:

      Where is your shop? I’m planning on heading down there to help transport. Leashes were on my list of supplies I still need!

  21. Jessica says:

    How can I help transport or foster dogs?

  22. Jesse Personette says:

    I would like to help no boat but im sure i can get to a shelter in my area and help with the animals.let me know of shelters in the 77014 area that are needing assistance.

  23. Claudia Moore says:

    I live in Charleston, SC. I know what it is like to live through a hurricane. So many of us here want to help the displaced animals, to foster them until they can find their owners or to just take them in. How can we help??? We will travel down to Texas to take in the animals, whatever needs to be done. Please let us know. Our hearts are broken for you and you are in our thoughts and prayers, Houston area.

    • Rachel Siegfried says:

      I live in Mt Pleasant, and I would also like to help.
      Would you please let me know if you know of any teams from Charleston going down?
      Rachel d Siegfried
      (843) 343-2143

  24. Thea says:

    Yo HSUS, let’s keep those animals local, you know what I mean. Give the pet guardians of the animals you’re taking out of Texas a better shot at being reunited. There’s plenty of Room in the big ol’ state of Texas to shelter animals, use your money, build those emergency shelters and keep them local. We want to see a high percentage of animal returned to owner or owner identified before you start stealing them and shipping them all over the d*** country like you typically do.

  25. Michele Howard says:

    Any victims come to new Hampshire?

  26. Anne Lance says:

    Anne, Pensacola, Florida
    I would be able to assist a family with pets who are in need of long term shelter, nothing luxurious, also have aviary runs available.

  27. Christine says:


  28. Susan says:

    20 year vet tech, stay home mom who would love to go help! Anyone get me there and I’ll help any way I can!

  29. Marla Laney-Jinks says:

    I need to help where can i send money or pet food or supplies to help these animals???????

  30. Marla Laney-Jinks says:

    I cannot be there to help as I live in upstate New York

    • Marla Laney-Jinks says:

      I can foster 2 dogs at my home in upstate New York. I can also send supplies or a financial donation directly if someone would tell me where to send to help these animals immediately. Please let me know.!!!!!! ASAP….let’s work together to get these animals safe.
      Thank you

  31. Joshua Goldman says:

    My wife and I have room for one female donkey at our farm in NJ if there is one that needs rescue and can get transportation to NJ (I do not have a trailer or would pick up). Reach out if we can help.

  32. Katrina Rank says:

    Humane Society of Aransas County, Texas (House of Hope)
    Building survived in good condition.
    Well water tainted with salt from Storm Surge.
    Water donations welcome!

  33. Svenmeister says:

    I live in Austin, have a truck and I can make time to help in Houston or can drive down supplies….
    After Katrina my buddy and I jumped in the truck and drove from Wilmington,Nc to New Orleans without a clue but we were able to go in the city to feed animals for a couple days until we got evacuated because of the following hurricane. I really would like to do hands on help but I don’t know where to start. Anybody?

  34. Michael says:

    Me and my wife are willing to open our home up in south Carolina,of a family is in need of a place to stay,for email is

  35. jess says:

    I’m in Idaho and have room to foster animals if anyone knows how I can get some sent up to me here I can give a great home in boise Idaho if anyone knows please get in contact with me. My heart is hurting for these animals down there and my intuition has been calling me to reach out to try to help. Please let me know

  36. Theresa Waltos-Hawranko says:

    Hi there, has anyone thought of the animals and sending food for them?

    Also, is there a site that you can go to to see the animals

  37. Carmen says:

    What about the wildlife!!!!!
    Already donated to the SPCA texas chapter but I also want to donate to help wildlife. Does anybody know what the Texas or Huston chapter website is? Thanks

  38. Carol says:

    I am a trained and working animal (cat/dog) rescue and rehabilitation volunteer from a rescue center in New York where we do full rehabilitation. I want to travel to TX to work with a TX based rescue organization as a volunteer rescuing from disaster areas and/or doing rehabilitating either in the shelters or to reunite with owners in the months ahead. I know a shelter I can assist down there. Looking for others in this area who plan to deploy just so I can get down there. Please advise.

  39. Judith Archer says:

    I will continue to monitor this site to see if HSUS or anyone else is setting up to foster parrots of all sizes: I head up a group that can send needed supplies for them. (Blog editor, feel free to contact me.)

  40. JoJo pineau says:

    I Can drive to Houston. Saw a large warehouse with hundreds of cages on the news. It’s heartbreaking. It appeared there were not enough volunteers. I can clean up poop wipe up pee. Clean cages feed dogs take directions. Comfort the dogs. Help drive pets to or anything to lighten the load. I’m a 63 year old disabled veteran (PTSD). But am able bodied. Let me help the animals

  41. Deb Fagan says:

    I have 10 acres in NEPA. I can help with dogs, cats, horse,Chickens, etc…. Please contact me if I can help foster until they can be reunited with their families!!!!

  42. Kelly says:

    I am prior military and civilian law enforcement, I have worked with military dogs, both GSD and Belgium, please let me know what I can do to help or foster any dogs that come your way….

  43. Jan says:

    My first impulse was to adopt but after reading posts I sent money. sounds important to keep the pets in Texas foster homes.

  44. AVIS HOLT says:

    I have just donated $60 to the disaster in Texas but I have since found out that ALL my money does not to that actual disaster. It goes to HSUS OVERALL. How can I make sure it goes to the local HSUS where the disaster is actually occurring? I cannot seem to find an e-mail address for either HSUS or Wayne Percelle.

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      Hi Avis, I am the blog editor. Your donation will go to help us help animals in Harvey and other disasters in the future. Our team has been on the ground since last week, moving animals out of harm’s way before the Hurricane hit, and we are now helping with rescue and evacuation efforts. You can keep up with the work our Animal Rescue Team and the Texas state director have been doing on Wayne’s blog here. You can also donate local, which is great, but please know that donating nationally also will help these animals and many more.

  45. Sally Warren says:

    I live in AZ. south, about 30 miles from the Mexican border. I have a rescue dog and would be happy to keep a dog that has been rescued from the flood. The owner could rest assured knowing that their beloved pet was well cared for. My yard is fenced and we walk our dog twice a day. I know there are people coming up to AZ. So please let me know if I can meet someone that can bring a dog.

  46. Susan McAlpine says:

    I’m in Arizona have one stall if needed for animal in need. Experienced horse person free to come and help if needed. Now or in future

  47. linda says:

    iwant to come help I’m in phx anybody going down there from here I could use the lift don’t have much money but can physically help I’m going to donate a little bit of money as well I love all animals and would do any thing for them please let me know if anybodys headed up there god bless all

  48. Carol Edwards says:

    Hi my name is Carol and I live in Indiana I have transportation,a lot of time and a van full of needed supplies including myself for whatever I can be useful towards what I don’t have is alot of money to donate as I am not working at this time so I would like to donate my time and energy also someone who would like to go with me to volunteer

  49. Debbie Langley says:

    I have 30 years Medical experience includes Emergency room triage tech (I am NOT a RN) Registration, Insurance verifications, Hospice Caregiver, Alzheimer’s /Dementia hands on care. 7 years as Clinic Coordinator with Homless Population in Las Vegas,NV. CPR/FIRST AID certified, Med Tech, I would love to physically help in any way, shape or form. Even if not medical related. Please if someone would kindly direct me to if/where/how/when.
    Thank you and my thoughts, prayers to each and every person, volunteer, animal help. This is why we are one he’ll of a great country!

  50. Carine Lankford says:

    Worked for local SPCA for years, vet assisitant, and some wildlife rehab experience. Willing to come volunteer if someone will have me.

  51. Susanne Banks says:

    Sorry I’m so late to this discussion. I live in Nashville, TN & am willing/wanting to help in ANY way possible. Please call/text or email me. I rescue cats & have a badly injured cat that’s going to forever home Sunday so I can be ready to roll out Mon. 9/26.

    Susanne 512-296-6311

  52. andrew laughlin says:

    MY dog has a tumor that so badly needs to be removed. He is in constant pain, i have called the Humane Society 4 times and they say they will call me back after i tell them my problem and never do. I called, Emancipet, Bark, Spca, Bansfield, Bingle road vet, Snap, Boyou city vets, Friends for life, Pet Care Express, Thrive, Oak forest Gulf Coast, Gulf bank, and many others, all i have asked them is if they would allow me to make a down payment and then pay the rest off because i cannot get Care credit due to identity theft. They all have refused to help in any way. The Lowest estimate i have received is 1200.00 all the way up to Gulf coast at 4000 . They want it all up front and i just cannot afford it after loosing everything in the flood. Does anyone know of someone that would let me pay off a surgery or someone that could help me pay for it? My dogs name is Roscoe he is a ten year old rotty and lab mix. He is the nicest dog you will ever meet and he does not deserve the pain i am leaving him in.

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