As Harvey menaces, HSUS team readies for pet evacuations, rescue

By on August 25, 2017 with 74 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

With Hurricane Harvey expected to ram the Texas coast early Saturday, whipsawing trees and homes and deluging communities, our HSUS Animal Rescue Team is working with local officials in the projected impact region to help evacuate animals. Our staff members have been working with emergency management offices, while our state director and other colleagues are sharing information about pet-friendly shelters with the public. We’re also assisting local shelters with their plans, and coordinating response options with our Emergency Placement Partners.

We place a high priority on working with public officials to encourage the inclusion of pets in their disaster planning and response efforts. Preparing for a disaster and repositioning animals is one of the most important tasks, and all of it should be done while the sun is shining and the hurricane is still out at sea.

Thus far, most coastal shelters in the threatened areas have evacuated their animals; our team has assisted in moving 60 animals out of Corpus Christi shelters and into SPCA of Texas in Dallas, one of our Emergency Placement Partners. Our senior state director in Texas, Katie Jarl, reports that the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services has set up an emergency sheltering system for evacuees arriving there with pets. We have received queries from Texans further inland asking how they can help and one way to do so is by taking in animals to foster, thereby reducing overcrowding in the shelters. Shelters that are taking in evacuees, like San Antonio Animal Care Services and SPCA of Texas, are also running low on essential dog supplies, and donations of items like newspapers, blankets, towels, and other pet supplies are welcome.

While we don’t yet know just how Harvey will upend wildlife or affect homed and homeless animals, we are preparing for a massive impact. Indicators are that this hurricane may be the strongest one to strike the U.S. mainland in 12 years. We are standing by to help as the need arises, armed with animal food, crates, carriers, and other supplies, along with emergency equipment and transport vehicles to evacuate and rescue animals.

Meteorologists are speculating that the Category 3 hurricane, as they’ve classed it now, may hover and deliver massive amounts of rain. If flooding occurs – and forecasters say three feet of rain may fall in some parts — that creates a separate set of problems, long after the winds have died down.

If you live in the affected region, please remember that if staying behind is not safe for you, it is not safe for your pets. This will be especially true as flood waters rise. If you are a pet owner in the area of impact, be mindful of evacuation orders and warnings, and heed the messages of your law enforcement and public safety officers. We are grateful to the City of Corpus Christi, which has taken the important step to consider all animals in their emergency plans. For more about what you need to plan and evacuate, visit us here.

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  1. jenaI herod says:

    I pray no one leaves any pets behind I would be mindful of the mistakes made after katrina THAT CAN NOT HAPPEN AGAIN we must do all we can to make sure no animal is left behind I am so worried for all and praying hsus aspca and every major animal rescue group we sup port with millions in annual donations makes sure those dollars are used to save animals. and not focus on who’s is charge. like what happened with katrina I was very didsapoibted in hsus after learning how few they helped and how soon they left before finding every last animal. instead they left that task to private residence us who were criminalized fir not being local rescues. that needs to not ever happen again

  2. jenaI herod says:

    after the way hsus, and other major rescue groups failed the animals of latrine I pray they learned from their mistakes I feel that as much money that hsus gets annally that they need to make sure no animals are left behind before and after. .I have been quite distended at the politics played amongst rescuers hafiling over who is in charge rather than just SAVING THE ANIMALS. we are watching and trying to help find as many temporary homes to foster and transport thru Facebook rescue and cross posting pages. if you need more help I suggest you ask for it and do not LEAVE UNTIL EVERY ANIMAL IS SAFE if you want another dime of my money

  3. Diane Howell says:

    It is not safe to separate families. Pets need to stay with their families, and this should be possible. When shelters block people from arriving with their pets it puts undue strain on everyone in that family, including the pets, and it is not in the spirit of humane relief from the storm.

  4. Krystynna Gillespie says:

    I have experience with Rescue and Evac of animals in floods, fire, and post-Katrina. Where can I be of the most help? Please let me know right away. Contact info is below.

    • Shannon Pleszko says:

      We are willing to help with rescue and foster if needed..did you get a response? Cleveland, Ohio

    • Cherie Bozoudes says:

      I am in Central Texas. A friend’s daughter and husband are stuck in a hotel room with their seven dogs. Do you, or does anyone else, have information that this young woman can use to get herself, her husband, and the animals out of harm’s way? Houston is expecting more rain tonight. If there is a phone number she can call, please send it to me at, or look me up on FB (Cherie Bozoudes). I do not mind posting this info, as I am worried for these folks and their dogs and want them to be rescued before things get worse. So far, no one is able take both them and their dogs.

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      Hi, 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.For more, please read our FAQs here:

      • Jeanne B. Plauth says:

        Does anyone know if the woman, husband, seven dogs got help? It was the post just before Vaishali’s and was posted on August 28 about 2:30 in the afternoon. The contact was a friend whose email is The friend is Cherie Bozoudes and the post said you can look her up on FB.


    • CINDY HUGHES says:

      I’m in Idaho. How can I tell people what is needed to help the animals? How do I make sure it does help the animals in need?

    • Lynette says:

      Can I ask,are the rescuers trying to find the original owners before putting the animals up for adoption?

  5. Georgia Cornell says:

    Counting on you – so admire your action on behalf of the animals in natural disasters

  6. Susette Baker says:

    Please let me know if additional help is needed with animals on site after Harvey huts. I am a 501 (c) (3) and assisted with the Katrina disaster. Thank you for being ready before this disaster strikes. Be safe.

  7. Carla Betlem says:

    Thank you. Where can I donate?

  8. KC Butler says:

    You provide instructions for evacuation for pet owners,
    but what did you do for the local shelters themselves, as, for example the photos of the Calhoun County Animal shelter in Port Lavaca.It seems that they are leaving animals there to suffer and die from Harvey.

    What did you do ?!

    • Christie Kimball says:

      What did you do?

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      Prior to the Hurricane making landfall, The HSUS worked with local groups to move shelter animals out, in particular those in the City of Corpus Christi. Currently we have several Animal Rescue Team responders on the ground and headed to areas impacted by the disaster where we have a formal agreement (a MOU) with the city of agency (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. These protocols are in place to ensure the assistance is sent to where it is needed most.).

      We have several vehicles including our disaster rig, and have five MOUs (with more on the way) with Texas cities and agencies including Texas City, Corpus Christi, Houston Humane Society and the SPCA of Texas. The SPCA of Texas has space to take in animals impacted by the hurricane, and should they need to move any animals out of state to free up space, we will assist them in doing so. We’ve also stayed in close contact with our Emergency Placement Partners, who are also ready to help should the need arise. We are also working closely with our partners in the City of San Antonio as they have already set up an emergency shelter to take in animals from evacuations. We are grateful to all of our shelter partners on the ground for working around the clock with us to care for people and their pets. You can get the latest on our Texas State Facebook Page.

      • Adriane Moffatt says:

        I have a friend who works in a hospital as a nurse. She had to go into work on Saturday and now can’t get home to her pets. Is there someone specific that she, or I, could call to get her animals out safely? She’s being told she may be stuck at the hospital for a few more days to two more weeks.

  9. Cindy Blackwelder says:

    How can we come and bring supplies and assist in helping care for animals affected by Huricane Harvey?

    • Anne S Williams says:

      I am willing to go and help or foster dogs here at my home in SC.

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      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. The City of San Antonio Animal Care Services and the SPCA of Texas are both taking donations through wish lists on Amazon for food, crates and bedding.

  10. Al says:

    Question: how to donate to help with homeless pets, wildlife and evacuees’ abandoned pets due to hurricane Harvey?

  11. Tamara says:

    How can I go help? Are there teams needed in the area? I’m in Dallas but can travel

  12. Michele LaGarde says:

    How can I help the animal shelters in Texas? I’m here in MA and would love to help! Please let me know what we can do to help

  13. Mollie mccoy says:

    The national news is showing photographs of dogs chained to trees, left in the path of this cat 4 hurricane.
    Please, please find these animals and help them.
    They are in chest high water.
    My god, what is wrong with people?

    • Jeanne B. Plauth says:

      The photographer who took the photo untied them and took them to safety. His name is Ruaridh Connellan and I want to find and thank him. He is a photographer for
      Jeanne Plauth

  14. Douglas Palmer says:

    Then reactivatell my volunteer status on the Animal Rescue Team so I can help.

  15. Sophie says:

    A dog is left tied up and abandoned on a property off US Route 77 in the eye of the storm on Saturday in Victoria, Texas +52
    A dog is left tied up and abandoned on a property off US Route 77 in the eye of the storm on Saturday in Victoria, Texas +52
    Dogs are left tied up and abandoned (left and right) on properties off US Route 77 in the eye of the storm on Saturday in Victoria, Texas

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  16. Laura Snipan says:

    Hello. I’m too far away to foster but I would like to donate money if it’s needed. Let me know. Thanks.

  17. Julie Corcorran says:

    How do you hire volunteers? I would love to help! I am available to travel. Work local, ANYTHING!

  18. Melissa says:

    I was one of the Katrina, Rita, and Ike rescuers you deployed, I’m actually in Katy, TX right now (though this time I don’t have my Hummer – it’s in Arizona). I want desperately to help rescue animals or if another shelter is set up like what we had in Gonzales, LA or Nacogdoches, TX I’m available for that.

    Please contact me!

  19. Laura says:

    Thank you for all you do for the animals in dagger and cruelty situations.

  20. Shannon Smith says:

    I am willing to foster for anyone that needs it. I am in Louisiana but will help and come get the animals and bring them back to their owners when they can take them back. I went through Katrina I know how it feels to need help

  21. Leslie Pardue says:

    Rowdy Girl Sanctuary in TX needs help ASAP getting animals out of the flood area! Please call 281-684-9101 if you can help. Angleton, TX area. Please share with any animal rescue folks/groups you know of in that area.

  22. leigh says:

    where to donate to this effort

  23. Luci Thopson says:

    Just saw that George R Brown Convention Center is opening as a shelter, however anyone with dogs have to stay outside with them. Saw several dogs and owners lined up outside. Surely they can accommodate them somehow. This is why people stay behind with their pets and the worst happens.

  24. Ginny Buell says:

    I have pasture in East Texas near Tyler and could tempararily accommodate some Equines due to Hurricane Harvey.

  25. Rhonda Heffernan says:

    Please help us. Animals are drowning in the streets her in Houston and other areas. There are also animals in need in the areas first impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Are there any animal rescue team boots on the ground and how do you reach them to report animals in distress?

  26. Zoe Helene says:

    Please—where do we donate specifically to help animal rescue in Harvey???

  27. Veronica vinitski says:

    Please contact me if I can be of any assistance traveling in your efforts with Harvey or financially or both. I’m up for volunteering for a week or two. If you have a team traveling from KY or nearby I’m willing to come with.

  28. Eileen Samitz says:

    WHAT are you guys doing to help? Folks like me will donate if we KNOW you are THERE in Texas helping to save animals!

  29. Anne says:

    I have heard there are injured dogs roaming the streets in Rockport and Corpus Christi .Will you be on the ground trying to help these dogs?

  30. Cher-Ami Palmer says:

    Is it possible to get on the HSUS rescue team to help with the Harvey disaster?
    Thank you,
    Cher-Ami Palmer

  31. Chris says:

    Do you guys need help down there – will come from Canada- – did katrina and many more

  32. Lynda lowrie says:

    My named in Lynda Lowrie
    I liked to know if u need dog food and cat food kitten food and cat littee

  33. Bird Kooistra says:

    We here in Ky have several wonderful folks ready to help house some animals. families who are already experienced fosters. If you need foster homes, we are already set up to receive them. Kitty condos & lg dog pens & cages, barn stalls open & at the ready. The easiest way to contact all of us is through the Taylor county SPCA in Campbellsville Ky. (Tag, Bird Kooistra)

  34. Diane Drobka says:

    Do you need any volunteer help for Hurricane Harvey? I assisted at an evacuation shelter (human) during Hurricane Katrina and I know many of those people needed places and people to care for their pets while they were there.

  35. Heather says:

    What can we do to help as we live in Pennsylvania ?? Food collections, toys, blankets, foster?

  36. Douglas Palmer says:

    I volunteered with HSUS Animal Rescue Team for 8 years, and I would like to assist in animal rescue in Texas.

    • Terri Lynn says:

      Douglas- Is there any way we can form a grass roots team to gather supplies and make a plan to get down there.? There are a lot of willing people on here who want to help, myself included. We need a task leader, organizers, donations and worker bees.
      Terri Lynn 682-404-7551

  37. Laura says:

    Need a contact ph # to get a hold of someone with a rescue boat to save a dogs life that been injured badly. It has a serious bump on it’s head and is swollen like the size of a balloon. Needs saving now before it’s too late. I believe the dog is located in or near Houston Tx. Thank you

  38. The white family says:

    Are you taking monetary donation since we have no way to ship supplies?

  39. Joe says:

    Can you post a REPUTABLE agency to donate to for the animals affected by Harvey?

  40. Mark Bernstein says:

    Live in New Mexico. Am willing to drive to Texas and foster up to two animals. Just let me know where to.

  41. Maria says:

    I hope some of these poor animals will come to my home state of Colorado
    which is a very pet friendly state. Many shelters and rescue groups here would
    do whatever they have to so these TX dogs, cats etc will be warm, dry and

  42. Terri Lynn says:

    I am a native Texan and dog trainer from the Beaumont/Galveston area, and still have family/friends there. I currently reside in North Texas and already have a house full of rescues. I have friends to care for them here, and I am ready to help the boots on the ground. I even have friends here with boats.I have experience from Hurricane Ike and several floods and tropical storms. I am ready to go at a moments notice and can even find food donations locally.. My contact Information is:
    Terri Lynn

  43. Terri Lynn says:

    We would need truck, SUV’s, Boats, blankets, towels, food, water, maybe some RV’s and Horse Trailers. If anyone has trailer to transport HAY and equine supplies. Let’s be proactive and get busy. Right now everyone is still so scattered down there, there is not a game plan yet, as rescues and recoveries are still the biggest priorities right now. I have family and friends there who all are still in shock and terrified.
    Terri Lynn

  44. Alison Anderson says:

    Please inform of how to get on the list to help with these natural disasters…training required to rescue animals, who to contact for that, what agency to deploy with etc. I would be willing to help in any way I can but we are being told to stay home by this blog administrator so I am respecting that. Please let me know and help me get hooked up to be part of these rescue deployments. I have been wanting to do it for a long time and haven’t gotten responses back from some of the trainers.
    Please phone alison 573-823-0927 (cell) jefferson city missouri

  45. Truc says:

    i am in Colorado. I can help foster two or three please let me know if there’s any way to help . praying for these animals ❤️

  46. Janet Flanigan says:

    I have two empty horse stalls (two horses of my own too) and have about 8 acres under fence if anyone needs to evacuate horses up here. I know it is a long way from Houston but will help if needed. I also set up a fundraising page for HSUS on my Facebook page. God bless everyone.

  47. Jessica Davis says:

    I’m looking for a rescue for a cat named Spepper in the Spring, TX area. He was left behind, neighborhood is flooded and is in a one-story house. Praying that he is okay. Please contact me if anyone has a boat that can possibly rescue him!

  48. Nicky Juels says:

    HSUS missing pet site…

  49. Mary Leisner says:

    I have 20 acres fenced in land to take livestock in Central FL. Can handle dogs and cats, transportation to FL and coordinate with shelters to help place in foster homes.

  50. Laura Kolapakka says:

    I’m interested in fostering, I am disabled and this is the best I can do to help sadly.

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