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Hamptons shelters take in Texas pets displaced by Harvey

Debbie Downes, animal care manager at Animal Rescue

Debbie Downes, animal care manager at Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in East Hampton, with a rescued dog she brought back from Texas, on Sept. 5, 2017. Nearly 60 dogs and cats were brought to Long Island from Texas shelters to make room for animals rescued during Hurricane Harvey. The animals will be spread out among area shelters. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

An East Hampton animal shelter transported nearly 60 cats and dogs affected by Hurricane Harvey from Texas to the East End and New Jersey to help them find homes.

Members of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons returned to Wainscott on Tuesday night after picking up 57 animals from a shelter in Austin, Texas, that took in former pets and strays from Harvey-ravaged areas, said Michele Forrester, ARF’s senior director of operations and partnership programs.

About 25 animals will stay at ARF and about 16 will be distributed between the Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton and the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation in Hampton Bays. Another 16 will go to three New Jersey shelters. All the facilities on Long Island and in New Jersey are no-kill shelters.

The animals, which vary in age, breed and size, will be available for adoption in about seven to 10 days after receiving full medical treatment and being spayed and neutered, Forrester said.

Many of the animals were tired upon pickup and appeared to be dealing with fleas, mange, worms, diarrhea and upper respiratory infections, Forrester said.

“Their spirits have definitely picked up,” she said Tuesday. “Their tails are starting to wag again.”

The nonprofit will name its Harvey animals after Texas towns and cities, including Galveston and Houston, Forrester said.

ARF also plans to free up space for more Harvey rescues by participating in the Sept. 9 “Endless Love” adoption event at the Tanger Outlets parking lot in Riverhead.

Southampton Animal Shelter is also planning to take in 30 more Harvey animals this week, executive director Jerry Rosenthal said.

“We may be a small shelter, but we have a big heart,” Rosenthal said, noting the organization has 250 animals between its foster program and shelter.

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