And still it rains: Texas equine rescuers battle Hurricane Harvey

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Rescuers have worked tirelessly to help horses and other animals during Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Rescuers have worked tirelessly to help horses and other animals during Hurricane Harvey in Texas. © Houston SPCA

Animal rescue operations in Texas are gaining momentum after flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey dropping a record 49 inches of rain has fallen in the Houston area.

Harvey is one of the worst tropical natural disasters to hit the United States, and even more rain is expected over the coming days.

Animal charities have helped bring feed and shelter to horses in need.
Animal charities have helped bring feed and shelter to horses in need. © Houston SPCA

Hundreds of volunteers have joined animal welfare charities in the rescue and care of the horses and other animals affected by the hurricane.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations and will be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

“We are getting calls from across the country and right here in our hometown, and the generosity of people who understand this disaster is truly amazing,” Turner said. “Together we can make a difference to those who will need extensive help to get back on their feet once this storm is over.”

There are several equine specific disaster relief funds open for donations that will support the efforts of emergency response groups and organizations that are helping horses impacted by the flooding.

Some will be collecting donations of goods and feed.

The United States Equestrian Federation Equine Disaster Relief Fund is working with the Houston SPCA to help animals that have been displaced.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation Equine Disaster Relief Fund is working with agencies and veterinary members in Texas, Louisiana and other affected states to identify the needs of the equine community. Supplies are not being accepted while the storm is still battering the state. But once it has an idea of the need and distribution protocols from the afflicted areas, it will work to support with supply needs. For help with supplies or other resources, contact Keith Kleine.

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Disaster Relief Fund is helping centers in need after catastrophic disasters not normally covered by operating insurance, including flooding. PATH Intl. Centers can also apply for relief.

Livestock preparedness recommendations include moving stock to higher ground.
Livestock preparedness recommendations include moving stock to higher ground. © Blair Fannin/Texas A&M AgriLife

The Humane Society of the US started moving animals days before Hurricane Harvey made landfall and is now working with local officials on animal transport and rescue. The charity is active in Dickinson and League City, and is moving animals out of San Antonio.

PETA is also working to help animals in Texas, and is also gearing up for the potential impact of Tropical Storm Irma as it threatens areas of coastal North Carolina, where resources to help animals in emergencies are even less readily available than in Houston. Its Animal Emergency Fund assists with food and veterinary supplies, as well as tools for rescuers, such as boats and other vehicles.

Texas also has an Animal Response Team, a joint unit comprising several entities, to help with stranded animals. Texas A&M Agrilife extension livestock specialist Joe Paschal said acidosis, founder, and bloat are the big concerns with cattle caught up in the hurricane, after they have had poor access to forage for some time.

The Houston SPCA has opened an Animal Emergency Response Hotline, for inquiries and reports of trouble, at 713-861-3010.

View traffic cameras in the area.

Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane Harvey.
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