Updated September 1, 2017
This post has been updated to reflect additional organizations that are working with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
For many of us in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the desire to help our neighbors in the Houston area is overwhelming. We were fortunate to have been spared from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, and now it’s time to step up and offer our assistance to those who have been affected by this disaster.
For animal lovers, the sight of stranded dogs and cats is particularly upsetting. Many of us want to help but don’t know what to do. Sorting through social media to find information can be daunting, so here is a compilation of verified information that you might find useful.
Here are some ways we can help:
Donate to rescue efforts in south Texas. There are many organizations that are approved to go into the flooded areas and provide rescue services and supplies to residents and their pets. The easiest and most effective way to help immediately is to donate online to one of these organizations. Here is a list of those that are already helping in the area:
• Best Friends Animal Society have deployed to provide rescue and recovery services.
• Austin Pets Alive has taken in many animals displaced by the storm. With the additional flooding in south Texas, they are moving animals to their Katy, TX location. Please check their website for updated donation information and needs.
• Animal Investigation & Response has arrived in south Texas for rescue and recovery efforts, and to transport animals back to DFW to make room in Houston-area shelters. They are currently accepting monetary donations but due to storage limitations are not accepting supplies at this time. Updates can be found on their Facebook page.
Foster: Many shelters in Dallas are preparing to take in dogs that are being displaced from their homes. In order to make room for those dogs, many rescue groups are looking for fosters to take in animals that were already at the shelter before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. This will create space to allow the Houston-area animals to stay at the shelters while their owners make arrangements for long-term care.
• SPCA of Texas has taken in hundreds of animals from south Texas and continues to need foster homes: https://www.spca.org/foster
Support Dallas-based relief efforts. Many evacuees are coming to the DFW area with their pets, and the organizations that are housing animals and providing services for them need help.
• SPCA of Texas is taking in displaced animals and are deploying crews to area shelters in Dallas to care for the pets of evacuees. Visit spca.org/hurricane-harvey to donate funds and to view their Amazon wish list.
• Operation Kindness is collecting donations of pet food and kitty litter for pet owners who are evacuating from south Texas and staying here in DFW. They currently need dry and canned dog/puppy food, dry and canned cat/kitten food, puppy & kitten formula, and cat litter. You can drop off donations at Operation Kindness, 3201 Earhart, Carrollton, TX. (To receive food, email email@example.com.)
What NOT to do:
Don’t go to Houston. The roads are still blocked, more rain is coming, and there is simply not enough room for people who are not already part of an organized rescue effort. We will have plenty of opportunities to help those who have come to Dallas to escape the storm, so it’s best to stay put and help out here.
There are several rescue groups on stand-by, waiting for the “okay” to deploy into the areas once the waters start to recede. This article will be updated with the names of those organizations as we learn more.
Don’t send supplies to Houston without checking first. There are many posts going around social media about rescue groups needing crates and other supplies for the animals but due to the overwhelming generosity of Texans, many shelters have run out of room to store these donations. In addition, it takes a lot of time to sort through donations and make sure that pre-owned supplies are sanitary and ready to be repurposed. Instead, donate money so they can buy the things they need in the amounts that they need them. With a shortage of time and space and volunteers, it’s much more efficient for the rescues to purchase the supplies they need.
Note: there are some organizations in Houston who need supplies from people who are already in Houston, and can get move around within the city. However, sending donations from outside Houston is risky – many delivery services can’t get to the shelters yet. Stay tuned for additional requests for supplies once the roads have been re-opened.
Don’t spread misinformation. Sadly, with every tragedy comes the ugly side of people who want to exploit people’s generosity for personal gain. Be sure to fact check before you share posts on social media. If you aren’t sure whether an organization is legitimate, play it safe and send your contributions to the SPCA of Texas or the Red Cross. You can easily send a $10 donation to the Red Cross by texting HARVEY to 90999.
Don’t forget about ongoing relief efforts. As we saw with Hurricane Katrina, the time to rebuild a community after a massive storm will be lengthy. Many people will stop helping in a few days or weeks, so your help will be needed after the initial influx of support dies down. Our southern Texas neighbors will need our help for the rest of the year, and probably next year too, so if you can’t donate right now or it’s too chaotic to find a way to help in person, don’t worry – it may be better to wait a few weeks to see where your help is most needed.
Note: This article will continue to be updated as additional information is made available. Tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.