Since Hurricane Harvey's landfall last month, crews from across the United States have been sent to aid people, but three specially trained crews from Michigan are out to rescue four-legged victims of the storms.
The Michigan Humane Society, Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit and Detroit Dog Rescue have all separately committed to aid animal societies with the overwhelming workload brought on by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The Michigan Humane Society sent an emergency response team of nine Sept. 4 to Houston. After almost two weeks of rescuing and caring for displaced or lost animals, the team was on its way home when they stopped in Pensacola, Florida, to pick up previously sheltered animals and bring them to Michigan for adoption.
The team returned to the Berman Center for Animal Care in Westland on Thursday with 28 dogs and puppies.Sheltered animals from Houston also are being driven to other states besides Michigan to make room to reunite lost pets with their owners.
“More than 700 animals were at the shelter (on Wednesday) in a variety of conditions; most in desperate need of attention but lucky to find themselves in the hands of the incredible folks at the Houston SPCA," said Matt Pepper, president and CEO of the Michigan Humane Society. "I and all of us from MHS are honored to support their efforts.”
The animals will need a few days to recuperate and then will be available for adoption.
The Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit also are opening the shelter's doors to animals from Houston affected by Hurricane Harvey. To make room, they will join a two-day adoption event with the Michigan Humane Society and are donating half of all adoption fees to local Houston animal rescue groups through September.
The humane society expects 800 adoptable pets will be at the zoo this weekend. Most will be available to go home with their adopters during the event.
“With so many animals in need of homes even before the storm hit, it’s especially urgent now to make room for all the pets in Houston that were lost in the shuffle,” said Elaine Greene, executive director of Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit, in a press release.
The Dearborn shelter is almost filled to compacity but plans to make room for the Houston animals by hosting the two-day adoption event at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak.
On Sept. 15, the mobile shelter will be at the zoo during a "Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo" from noon to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The event is free with admission to the zoo; information can be found online. Colleen Robar, Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit spokeswoman, said the shelter plans to do the same event for Florida.
"We haven't gotten to that stage as we are with Harvey yet, but we sure plan to," Robar said.
The Detroit Dog Rescue teamed up with #Detroit2Houston effort to send dog supplies during the "Stuff A Semi" collection event on Sept. 2. They filled four UHauls of donated supplies and are accepting dogs from the Animal Rescue Corps.
Kristina Rinaldi, executive director of Detroit Dog Rescue, said they want to put their resources where they are needed most.
"We are waiting to hear from Animal Rescue Corps when they return from Houston. DDR will be accepting about 10-20 dogs, depending on what the need is and of course, we have so many dogs here that need help too," Rinaldi said.
Rinaldi said their plan is to help the states in the aftermath of the storm as they did with Hurricane Sandy, a category 3 hurricane that hit in 2012.
"We sent aides 45 days after Hurricane Sandy," she said. "Seeing people's houses and lives had been decimated and in need of help was a lot to handle.
"They've lost everything (and) they want to keep their pets, but can't afford to. We help those people get back on their feet."