How to Help
With the aftermath of Harvey and the approach of Irma, many people may be wondering how to help rescued animals. Should they run out to buy food, beds, and other supplies for abandoned animals in Houston? This is an admirable and charitable gesture, but it is risky to send supplies without knowing the actual needs of the shelter. A shelter could end up with a surplus of one item and a critical need of another.
Do Your Research
Before sending supplies, it’s important to do some research. First, check the organization’s website for a list of items needed. Some shelters even have an Amazon list with requests for specific items. Shelters will communicate exactly what their needs are through websites, social media, and news stories. Check for reliable sources and buy supplies based on specific requests to avoid overwhelming shelters with non-essential items.
Check Locally First
Many Houston shelters are working hard to rescue animals and prepare them to be sent out of the city to other shelters, but nearby cities like Austin and San Antonio are preparing to take in a great number of homeless and rescued animals. Even shelters in Louisiana are preparing to take in many animals in need of shelter after Harvey to take the burden off of Houston. A storm as devastating as Harvey affects more than just the area hit with the storm. This will affect shelters far beyond Texas, which means that you may not need to look further than your local animal shelter. According to the New Orleans Advocate, shelters as far as Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are taking in animals from Louisiana shelters to make room for an influx of rescued animals from Houston.
With Hurricane Irma approaching, shelters will need even more space for rescued animals from Florida and surrounding affected areas. Networks of animal rescue organizations will work together across the country to give all displaced animals shelter and care. You do not have to find an organization outside your area to find a way to help displaced animals.
One of the best things you can do to help rescued animals is to become a foster parent. If adoption is not an option, you can still help by fostering dogs and cats. By taking animals out of shelters and into your home, rescue organizations will have more room and resources for others in need. You do not need to contact a Houston shelter to foster animals affected by Harvey. Because shelters all over the country will be contacted to take in some the thousands of displaced animals, fostering animals from your local shelter will make space for rescued dogs and cats.
How We Can Help
You may be looking for new animal-friendly housing after the storm. If you have been displaced by Harvey and need to keep your service dog with you while looking for new housing, we can help with vests and identification. We have similar identification for emotional support animals and if you need an evaluation with a mental health professional, you can speak with one of our licensed mental health clinicians. If approved, the clinician will write you a letter which legally affords you housing and flying rights. If you need more information about your rights with service dogs or emotional support animals, you can read our FAQ page, email us at [email protected], or call 985-242-7207
We wish everyone affected by the 2017 Hurricane season a quick recovery and hope for the continued safety of all displaced residents and animals.