Toronto group send­ing truck to Hous­ton to res­cue dogs

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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.”

Stu­art Vil­lanueVa/the GalVe­ston county daily news

a dog walks out into flood wa­ters in ba­cliff, texas, on satur­day.

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