Before Hurricane Harvey battered Texas and the Gulf Coast, animal shelters—having experience from Hurricane Katrina in 2005—began transporting animals to shelters in states that would be unaffected by the storm.
On Wednesday, a group of animals from Corpus Christi, Texas arrived at the Beatrice Humane Society after a nine-hour drive.
Knowing that the heavy flooding and damage would mean a second flood of displaced and abandoned animals arriving in Gulf Coast shelters, Tall Tails Rescue and Transport in Texas began sending shelter animals—all vetted with health certificates and ready to go—across the country.
The Beatrice Humane Society was the second animal shelter in Nebraska to receive displaced animals, after a shelter in Norfolk, said shelter manager Bryce Caulk.
The truck arrived shortly before noon on Wednesday with 12 dogs and one ferret named Freddie. As of Wednesday afternoon, four of the dogs had already been adopted, Caulk said.
Lauren Hubka, who had been looking for a dog to adopt came to the Beatrice Humane Society after seeing the shelter’s post about the hurricane dogs on Facebook. That’s where she met Rita, a lab-mix with floppy ears and big, tired eyes.
Hubka’s mother, Shelli Hubka, was also at the shelter on Wednesday. Just after entering one of the pens, Rita put her paw on Shelli’s hand.
“I want to take them all,” she said. “They're going to go so fast.”
That’s what the Beatrice Animal Shelter hopes, Caulk said. The maltipoo, two chihuahuas, two miniature pinscher puppies and six lab-mix puppies are all in need of homes.
Freddie the ferret is another animal ready for adoption.
“They're doing pretty good,” Caulk said. “They all seem to be in pretty friendly spirits. They all are getting settled in.”
The new animals are in a good home, he said. The Beatrice Humane Society recently obtained status as a no-kill shelter, the first shelter in Nebraska to do so. That means less than 10 percent of the animals taken in are euthanized, Caulk said. The ones that have to be put down are only euthanized as a last resort--in the case of an incurable illness or injury.
Moving into their new location on Highway 136, across from Southeast Community College, was what allowed the shelter to bring in the hurricane animals, Caulk said. The old location downtown would not have provided enough space to take them in.
“I really don't think that we could have,” Caulk said. “Which is why we're very excited that we had the community support to build this building and so far we've had a lot of support from the community welcoming these animals in, which we're very thankful for.”
The animals from the hurricane—as well as local animals—are up for adoption now. Those who are unable to adopt but still want to help can make donations either in person or online at www.beatricehumanesociety.org. The shelter also has an Amazon wishlist which will deliver items right to their door.
Right now, Caulk said, the shelter is most in need of Iams adult dog food, bleach and cat litter, or gift cards to places like Tractor Supply Co., Wal-mart or PetSmart.
Caulk said the shelter is trying to get the word out about the animals on Facebook and they’re planning on accepting another group of hurricane dogs in the near future. But, for the moment, their main concern is finding homes for the current batch.
“To come out of a situation like that, we're hoping that they won't have to stay in another shelter and prolong their adoption,” Caulk said. “We're hoping the community comes together, we get these babies homes and save a couple more.”