YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The images from Texas are heartbreaking. Families’ homes are destroyed and in many cases, pets have been separated from their owners. One local animal rescue advocate is in Texas, trying to help.
Jason Cooke connected with animal rescuers in Texas through Facebook. He said social media will likely play a large role in reuniting lost pets with their families.
“These families, when they have time, can go scour through some of these sites and see if that’s their dog at their local shelter and get reunited.”
With large portions of Houston still underwater, there’s one big problem.
“A lot of them right now don’t have a place to reunite to. They don’t have homes,” Cooke said.
Many families took their pets with them but in the chaos of the storm, several others wound up separated.
Cooke said rescuers have learned a lot in the last 12 years about what to do when pets are left homeless after a hurricane or flood.
“As we learned from Katrina, you don’t want to take rescue animals out of the state because they actually belong to people and you want to reunite them.”
He plans on bringing some shelter pets back to Ohio with him but they won’t be pets separated from their families by the floods.
Cooke said instead, he’ll help clear the shelters of existing homeless pets, making room for the victims of Harvey.
“Logistically, it is much easier to alleviate the population in the shelters and let the shelters take in the influx of rescued animals.”
By making room, it’ll also make time for people to find their lost pets.
“Hopefully, these shelters can hold on to these dogs until these people can get back on their feet,” Cooke said.
If you want to help, the best thing you can do is donate money to one of the established animal rescues in the disaster area:
With money, they can buy everything they need as they need it and not have to worry about shipping or storage.
If you have experience with animals, you can also volunteer your skills for animal rescue.