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Huntington to take Houston shelter pets after Hurricane Harvey

Volunteers and officers from the neighborhood security patrol

Volunteers and officers from the neighborhood security patrol help rescue residents and their dogs in the upscale River Oaks locale after it was flooded from Tropical Storm Harvey on Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston. Photo Credit: Getty

The Town of Huntington and Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Huntington are joining forces to bring 13 Houston shelter animals — 10 dogs and three cats — to the town.

The idea is to make room in shelters in Houston, so that animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey can remain local until they are able to return to their homes.

A Rockwall, Texas-based animal rescue nonprofit, Rockwall Pets, is coordinating the exchange.

“We’ve worked with Rockwall Pets in the past for just typical rescue across the country,” said David Ceely, executive director of Little Shelter. “When we heard about the situation with Hurricane Harvey we reached to them and said we wanted to help with some kind of rescue effort.”

Town spokesman A.J. Carter said town shelter officials and Little Shelter were reaching out, simultaneously, to find out about taking animals from Houston.

“When we each learned about the other’s efforts, we joined together for one outreach to Houston,” Carter said.

Christina Arriaga, executive director of Rockwall Pets, said they are just doing their part in a network of rescues helping to manage about 3,000 animals displaced by Hurricane Harvery over the last five days.

She said the animals are being picked up in Austin, Texas, where a “rescue hub” of shelter animals has been set up, driven to Knoxville, Tennessee, then on to Delaware before finally ending up in Huntington.

“We’re taking shelter dogs and getting them out of the way so local shelters have room to take in the displaced animals,” Arriaga said.

Huntington Town will take three dogs, while Little Shelter will take the rest of the animals.

Carter said neither the town nor Little Shelter know what breeds are coming, but officials did ask that Rockwall Pets not send pit bulls or pit mixes because they felt it wouldn’t be fair to the pits that have been waiting for adoption at the town shelter.

Ceely said after a two-week quarantine, the animals from Houston will be up for adoption.

“We’re saddened by the situation going on down there but we are grateful we have the ability to help out,” Ceely said. “We’re really excited by our partnership with the Town of Huntington because that’s something innovative for a town shelter, a municipality to reach out to this type of rescue relief effort, that’s groundbreaking.”

Huntington officials are also coordinating with the Red Cross to help all victims of Hurricane Harvey, and are working to set up a donation link on the town’s website, Carter said.

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