— -- Texas has been hit by devastating storms over the past week, with at least 18 people dead and eight missing after the ensuing floods. But animal victims were also left in a desperate position.
Pet shelters across the affected region faced flooded and overcrowded conditions.
When the Town Lake Animal Shelter in Austin and partner nonprofit Austin Pets Alive! had to evacuate nearly 60 dogs to the Austin Animal Center, the centers took to social media for help.
Already inundated with lost and stray animals from the storm, plus the evacuated pets from the Town Lake Animal Shelter, dogs and cats were in desperate need of homes. The shelter was over capacity by about 140 animals Monday.
The Texas community answered with an outpouring of support.
Volunteers lined up to foster animals needing a dry place to sleep. Nearly 100 people showed up to the Town Lake Animal Shelter and 40 people temporarily sheltered cats and dogs at the main Austin Animal Center facility. They also brought towels, blankets and supplies.
Other shelters in Texas faced similar problems. After the tornado on Sunday, the Houston SPCA provided support for pets sheltered with owners at the Chinese Community Center.
“Due to the severe weather, there have been a lot of stray animals caught in precarious situations,” said Lisa Rotter, the shelter’s community outreach manager. And with staff stretched thin, Rotter said volunteers stepped in to help with daily function of the shelter even the day after the initial flooding.
Even as flood waters start to recede, The Austin Animal Center had a record intake Wednesday with 122 dogs and cats coming into the shelter. Now, shelters are attempting to reunite pets lost during the floods with their owners.
This blind dog was found wandering near a middle school and brought to the Austin Animal Center. The owners have yet to claim the lost dog.