SAN ANTONIO — Hurricane Harvey has forced more than 30,000 to seek emergency shelter in Texas along with countless animals who are now abandoned or homeless.
An estimated 600,000 animals were killed or stranded during Hurricane Katrina and there’s a mounting effort to prevent it from happening again.
The Humane Society expects thousands of animals to be impacted by the storm, spokesperson Samantha Miller told CBS News. The agency is working with San Antonio Animal Care Services which will serve as a temporary emergency shelter pets.
The Humane Society is also coordinating with Wings of Rescue to transport more than 100 animals from the temporary shelter out of state to animal shelters, likely in Oregon, Washington state, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
As of Tuesday, San Antonio Animal Care Services brought in 231 animals from displaced residents impacted by the severe weather. They housed 179 dogs, 51 cats and one gerbil named Rufus.
Thirty of the dogs were rescued from a flooded shelter in Pleasanton, about 36 miles south of San Antonio.
“People love their animals — it’s heartbreaking. People are taking good care of their animals. They’re doing the best they can,” one volunteer worker at the shelter told CBS News correspondent Melissa Villarreal.
Meanwhile, the Pets Alive! Shelter in downtown Austin has been independently operating as a command center for animal rescue initiatives. The shelter is expecting to house over 1,000 animals by the end of the week.
Mary Heerwald, the shelter’s spokesperson, said Tuesday that 169 dogs and 122 cats were on their way to Austin, along with 40 other animals.
The National Weather Service says more than 40 inches of rainfall have fallen in some parts of Texas with another 20 inches possible before the storm moves on.