AUSTIN, TX — Austin Pets Alive! coordinated the rescue and transport of 70 dogs from across Texas, sending them to West Palm Beach on Wednesday. With help from Wings of Rescue, the dogs were flown to Florida where most will be available for adoption at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, and a few others at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County.
Shelters across Texas were left in need of help to save thousands of pets after Winter Storm Uri ravaged the state and left millions without power, heat, and/or water. Austin Pets Alive! (APA!), battling heat, power, and water loss of its own, started on a goal to get 1,000 Texas shelter pets at-risk of euthanasia to safety across the country in a matter of weeks, working with shelter partners across the state to help as quickly as possible.
“We have been working around the clock since before the storm hit, first to keep people and pets safe through the storm, and now to help people and get pets to safety in its aftermath,” said Jennica Lurie, Dog Marketing Manager for Austin Pets Alive!. “Today’s transport is the latest step in that effort. We’re grateful to our shelter partners in Texas for working to save these lives, and our shelter partners across the country for taking them in.”
Wednesday’s transport of 70 dogs to West Palm Beach, FL was made possible by hard work from several organizations, including the team from Wings of Rescue, and their sponsor Tito’s Vodka. The dogs were originally from the SPCA of Brazoria County (Lake Jackson, TX), Abilene Animal Services (Abilene, TX), Laredo Animal Care Services (Laredo, TX), Big Spring Animal Shelter (Big Spring, TX), and Bastrop County Animal Services (Bastrop, TX); and had a stopover at APA!, many who stayed in temporary foster homes thanks to APA!’s Cold@ Emergency Response group.
“Working for an open-intake shelter is hard. You don’t get to decide how many and when the animals flood in. So when the recent severe weather hit, it seemed the number of strays and surrenders coming in tripled. Even transporting 20+ other dogs to rescue and adoptions on top of that, we were still getting more animals in than were going out,” said Wendy Ballard, Animal Services Coordinator of Bastrop County. “These animals mean the absolute world to us. We love them like they are our own! We are incredibly thankful to APA!, and I want everyone who fosters and adopts pets, to personally know, you are saving these lives.”
This transport is just one of many that APA! is coordinating in the wake of Winter Storm Uri. Pets have already been placed in in Boston, MA at the Northeast Animal Shelter and MSPCA; Chicago, IL at Wright Way Rescue and Felines & Canines; Sheridan, WY; Cheyenne, WY; Jackson, WY; Salt Lake City, UT; Fort Collins, CO; and Denver, CO, reaching 447 pets saved and transported out as of March 1. More lifesaving transports will continue in the coming weeks.
Texas shelters who need help getting pets out as well as shelters that are able to transport and/or receive cats and dogs should contact [email protected]. The biggest need at this time is for organizations that can safely transport pets. To help make these transports happen, people are encouraged to give to Austin Pets Alive! here.