Six months have passed since Hurricane Harvey unleashed havoc on the Lone Star State. Texans found their lives forever changed. As the crisis unfolded, thousands of animals also needed evacuation or rescue and shelter. San Antonians answered the call for help.
It took a lot of teamwork to evacuate animals from Port Aransas ahead of Harvey. Six months later there is a new challenge for the animal community on the island.
The Port Aransas animal shelter still shows signs of the storm. The roof is only partially completed. Regardless, happy barks echo throughout the dog pen.
“We were very fortunate to be able to help,” said former shelter manager Sam Mullin. “After we came back in, with our building even in the shape it was, we never closed one day and we were able to take care of everything that came in and what we needed to do for every animal.”
The canines at the shelter now are ready for new families to pick them up.
Some of the dogs have been at the city-run shelter since the Hurricane. More are showing up when families could no longer care for their animals. Financial stress after the storm or having to stay in housing that doesn’t allow pets often leads to the decision to surrender.
Sam Mullin ran the shelter during the storm. He retired in December. Mullin says ahead of Harvey the animals under his care were evacuated. Nearly all of them wound up at a San Antonio woman’s home.
Beth Morgan loved on the dogs as the storm battered the coastal bend. From her house, the pets were placed with fosters and many found their forever homes.
Animal advocates across the state worked together during the emergency.
“We couldn’t have done it without them. We are a small island and we were hit hard. It was pretty devastating to come home to,” said Connie Beane. “The San Antonio rescues were great.”
Beane runs Animal friends of Port Aransas which is a non-profit pet rescue. She also drove dogs and cats out of harm’s way.
Despite returning to find her own home uninhabitable, Beane has not slowed down.
These days her work focuses on helping pet-owning neighbors who are still hurting by coordinating programs that ease the cost of caring for pets. In the last few months, dozens of dogs have been spayed or neutered at no cost. Nearly 100 animals also received free vaccines. The next event will include pet food distribution.
Meanwhile, a San Antonio no-kill shelter is still housing three Harvey dogs. The pups are all from the Houston area. The Animal Defense League of Texas took in 400 animals before, during and after the storm.
“It was amazing, the outpouring of support not only financially through online donations but the people who were willing to help or come and foster or bring items that were lying around their house that we could really use," said Matt Elmore with ADL.
All but the three remaining dogs have been placed in homes or transferred to open shelters in northern states.