Local animal activist: Harvey relief efforts trip was ‘life-changing’

Jason Cooke spent time in south Texas helping with animal relief efforts from Hurricane Harvey

Local animal advocate Jason Cooke is back in the Valley after spending time in south Texas helping with animal relief efforts from Hurricane Harvey.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Local animal advocate Jason Cooke is back in the Valley after spending time in south Texas helping with animal relief efforts from Hurricane Harvey.

WKBN spoke to Cooke before he left and during his trip.

“It was an adventure,” Cooke said Sunday. “It was a life-changing experience.”

Cooke spent two weeks in Montgomery County, Texas. He worked with Best Friends Animal Society to rescue cats and dogs from Harvey.

By the time he left, the shelter was overflowing.

“It was around 940 dogs and cats,” Cooke said. “So when you break that down, it was about 840 dogs and 100 cats.”

Of those animals, 95 percent didn’t have identification or microchips, which made it difficult to reunite pets with their owners.

Cooke says it’s a good reminder for Valley pet owners.

“It really demonstrated there just how important it is to microchip your dog,” he said. “Because collars fall off, tags fall off, but microchips do not.”

Cooke didn’t come back to the Valley alone. Three dogs rescued from Harvey made there way up here as well.

They are in foster care with Angels for Animals — and dozens of people have applied to adopt them.

“There’s only three dogs that are available from Hurricane Harvey, but there are hundreds and hundreds of dogs in the tri-county area and beyond that need homes,” Cooke said.