Toronto group sending truck to Houston to rescue dogs
A different kind of rescue mission for Houston is underway. Redemption Dogs, a Toronto non-profit that advocates for canine rescues, is preparing to send volunteers to areas affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Next week, two volunteers will head down to Houston in a temperaturecontrolled van, hoping to retrieve about a dozen pooches and distribute them to foster homes in the GTA.
“They already had a serious overpopulation problem, estimated at over a million homeless dogs at any given time in Houston,” said founder Nicole Simone. “And now you have displaced animals on top of homeless animals, because some of the rescuers denied people to take their dogs with them.”
Reuters reported last Sunday that dozens of people were told they couldn’t bring their pets inside the Houston convention centre. But by Monday, the shelter had opened a designated area for dogs.
Redemption Dogs had already been working with animal-rescue advocacy groups in Texas before Hurricane Harvey, Simone said. The plan now is to work directly with those groups, allowing Toronto volunteers to quickly identify and bring dogs that are already in the shelter system. This will also free up space for local rescue efforts.
Animal care services in cities across Texas have been struggling to take care of abandoned pets during the flooding, according to local reports. Earlier this week about 100 dogs were airlifted from a Texas shelter to New Jersey, according to ABC News.
Simone said next week’s trip is an emergency mission but could go long-term depending on the situation on the ground.
“A lot of pet rescue groups down there have lost their properties, so it’s going to take some time before they can get back up on their feet,” she said, noting it took a while after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012 for animal groups to reopen their doors.
“We’re hoping to help alleviate some of that pressure now.”
a dog walks out into flood waters in bacliff, texas, on saturday.