Stories of Hope for Rescued Pets Amidst the Tales of Devastation Caused by Recent Hurricanes

Hurricane season has wreaked havoc on several regions in the past month. There was Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida, and now Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. These natural disasters have killed dozens of people, destroyed thousands of homes and caused widespread flooding.  And the tales of devastation and suffering have affected both humans as well as our beloved animals.

While much of the recent news has been tragic and downright depressing, there are also stories that help shine a little sunlight on the ongoing events.  Here are a few of those that specifically spoke to the plight of our furry friends.

11 Hurricane Harvey Animal Rescues to Remind You That, Yes, Someone Went Back for the Cat
Sept. 1 |
Heartwarming photos of both dogs and cats rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Texas.

Miranda Lambert rescues trucks full of dogs displaced by Hurricane Harvey
Sept. 1 |
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, country singer Miranda Lambert’ MuttNation Foundation helped bring over 70 puppies to safety. According to a Facebook post, they “went to Houston to rescue and relocate existing shelter animals in order to make room for the animals that were separated from their owners due to Harvey. This would allow animals to be reunited with their owners much quicker, while also giving the existing shelter animals a better chance for fostering or adoption.”

Charleston Animal Society takes in 126 animals from Florida after Hurricane Irma
Sept. 15 |
The Charleston Animal Society took in 126 animals from a Florida shelter Thursday night as part of ongoing Hurricane Irma relief efforts. In all, 54 cats and 72 dogs arrived at the North Charleston shelter from the Alachua County Humane Society in Gainesville, said Joe Elmore, the Animal Society’s CEO. The Alachua County Humane Society is acting as a hub, taking in animals from Florida, Elmore said. From there, the animals come to Charleston, where they are kept before being turned over to rescue groups from North Carolina and Virginia.

Warriors and Heat help with Hurricane Irma animal rescue efforts
Sept. 16 |
More than a hundred shelter animals were shipped from Miami to Oakland on Friday with the hopes of finding new homes in the Bay Area. Assisted by Fed-Ex, these animals were moved to make room for more to be rescued in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which devastated Florida and surrounding states last weekend after causing catastrophic damage to islands in the Caribbean before that. Members of the NBA’s Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors assisted in the efforts.

Dr. Jefferson on Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
Sept. 21 |
Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! recounts the efforts to relocate animals in local shelters to make space for new arrivals.  Unfortunately, many shelters traditionally euthanize animals if they can’t evacuate them in order to prevent further suffering when a shelter is demolished by a catastrophic event like Hurricane Harvey. APA took in more than 2000 pets in the two weeks following the initial impact. They set up an email helpline, used Google mapping and used an app called  Zello to aid rescue effort in targeting stranded animals by boat.  With the help of numerous volunteers and organizations like Best Friends Animal Society, they were able to set up temporary housing facilities outside the affected areas.  ” A huge number of shelter and owner-surrendered pets that came to APA! found new homes via transport to partner No Kill shelters across the country who were eager to help us with this huge influx of pets in need. Of those not transported to different locations, hundreds went to foster and hundreds more got adopted (around 700 dogs and nearly 600 cats!).”

Dogs, cats rescued during Hurricane Harvey brought to St Louis
Sept. 21 |
Humane Society teams from St. Louis and Atlanta joined forces to rescue more than 60 dogs and 20 cats from damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Since the end of August, 215 dogs and cats had been received by the Humane Society of Missouri.

Virginia Animal Rescuer Charters Last Minute Plane to Save 300 Caribbean Pets from Hurricane Maria
Sept. 22 |
A Virginia Beach, Virginia, animal lover named Sali Gear, created a special rescue campaign or the dogs in the U.S. Virgin Islands caught in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  What started out as a plan to fly groups of 20 animals at a time to the continental U.S. every day for a week morphed into a much larger venture. As Hurricane Maria appeared imminent, the need to get those animals out in a hurry became evident an a plan was chartered to get all 300 of the targeted animals out at once. After chartering a

Then Hurricane Maria appeared. As the second hurricane loomed closer to the Caribbean islands, Gear knew she needed to act fast. Instead of trying to save the pets piecemeal, Gear decided to charter a plane immediately and get all 300 of the animals she planned on rescuing, which included numerous dogs and several cats, out at once.



Katrina’s Aftermath and the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act
It’s been more than a decade since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast areas. According to The Washington Post’s Karin Brulliard, “One 2006 poll found 44 percent of people who chose not to evacuate during Katrina did so because they did not want to abandon their pets.” [source]

In that hurricane’s aftermath,, the welfare of abandoned pets and other animals gained national attention.  In response to public outcry as well as the efforts of organizations like the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act was enacted by Congress. It requires that response plans “account for the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals before, during and following a major disaster or emergency.” See also



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