Groups start nationwide partnership to save animals affected by Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON — During Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana SPCA estimated 100,000 pets were left behind. Watching that, many decided pets definitively deserve saving, too.

Organizations from around the country have teamed up here at Pet Reunion Pavilion inside NRG Arena, where over 500 animals are being temporarily housed in hopes their owners will come and find them.

Wednesday, PetSet Houston lightened the load a little.

“We are loading two busses headed to Santa Barbara to shelters, no-kill shelters, in Santa Barbara, to take these animals and find homes for them,” says Tama Lundquist, co-president of the board of directors for Houston PetSet.

These animals all got a ticket on the “Rescue Express.”

“We transport animals that are being [or] that would otherwise be euthanized in Southern California to the northwest. In three years we've transported 12,000 animals,” says Mike McCarthy, founder of Rescue Express.

On this trip it was 90 dogs and 47 cats that had already been in animal shelters pre-Harvey, or animals that were surrendered to animal shelters after Harvey's devastation.

As for what pet owners should do if they lost track of their animal in the chaos hurricane Harvey brought to southeast Texas:

“We encourage them to check their local shelter and also check all surrounding shelters. A lot of shelters were taking pets from quite far away during the disaster, so they may be at any number of places. We do encourage folks to come down and bring a picture as well, that will help us identify your pet and we also have a lost and found board. If you go to our website, bestfriends.org and click on hurricane Harvey that will link you to a number of different resources where you can search for your pet,” says Holly Sizemore with Best Friends Animal Society.

If you don't find your pet right away, don't get discouraged or give up. Many of the animals here haven't been photographed yet, and there's still a lot of organizing going on.

And if you don't have a place to call home yourself yet, you can still come visit your animal while you start the recovery process.

“We'll work with you to find temporary foster care, or keep the animal here as long as we can. The pet reunion pavilion will be open until mid-October. We`re encouraging people to come on down as soon as they can even if you don`t have a place to live yet still come on down.”

Because even if you lost everything, that doesn't mean you should lose your best friend, too.