When animals displaced from Hurricane Harvey needed somewhere to go, these Texas residents got creative.
Beaumont, Texas is a town with a strong sense of community and agricultural background. Ranches and farms dot the area, and even more people own cats and dogs. As Hurricane Harvey made its way across the state, many of those farmers and ranchers were forced to evacuate. Their homes were flooded, and amidst that chaos, their animals were lost.
Now as they begin to recover and rebuild their lives, horses, cattle, dogs, cats, and even geese are wandering the area separated from their families. The local shelters are either under water or overwhelmed with other homeless animals, so residents came up with another solution.
There are two large pavilions located on the outskirts of the town. Usually reserved for the county fair, the baseball diamond-sized shelters are now the temporary refuge for a menagerie of displaced animals. Under one of the pavilions, you'll find a makeshift livestock yard. Horses and cattle suffering from dehydration, shock, and bloody wounds are being cared for by volunteer veterinarians.
Besides those large animals, there are also cats and dogs. Big dogs, small dogs, purebreds, and mixed breeds sit in wire cages after being rescued from floodwater and found wandering the streets. Some bark and rattle their cages, but many more sit somberly waiting for their owners to find them.
Pet owners from across the state are showing up to claim their animals, but others are disappointed to see their beloved family members aren't under the pavilions. Judy Reed was rescued from her flooded home, but her Great Dane named Shadow was left behind. She's been searching for the dog she calls family but hasn't found him. She plans to check back at the pavilions as more animals arrive.
Unfortunately, animals are coming in faster than they're going out. Ranchers are volunteering their time to search the countryside for lost livestock, and citizens are still dropping off lost pets. The organizers of the make-shift shelter plan to keep the animals for 30 days before allowing them to be adopted by new families.
What do you think of Beaumont's efforts to help displaced animals? Let us know in the comments.
All images by Brian Mann/North Country Public Radiovia via NPR
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