Updated October 5, 2017
When Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria struck, it wasn’t just people who were affected. With flooding through parts of Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the Caribbean displacing tens of thousands of people it’s easy to forget the many household pets also caught up in the disaster.
Shelters from other areas across the US have taken in pets to reduce the load in shelters hit by the flooding — and remember, in many cases, these are not abandoned or lost dogs and cats. Rather, many emergency shelters for humans do not allow pets, so it becomes necessary to place them temporarily in animal shelters.
There are many ways to help out, but remember this one important word of advice: In disasters like this, the best gift you can give is cash. It may seem like a nice gesture to donate tangible things instead, like clothing or food, but quite often areas hit by disaster do not have the means to store or distribute such goods, so they wind up being wasted.
America’s leading animal welfare organizations have responded quickly to the disasters and you can help their efforts with donations:
The ASPCA’s Field Investigation and Response Fund supports all of thethe ASPCA’s life-saving efforts for animals in disaster and cruelty situations, including Irma, Harvey and Maria. Donate here. The ASPCA recently added a donation page for Puerto Rico.
The Humane Society of the United State’s Disaster Relief Fund is helping animals affected by all three hurricanes and future disasters. Donate here.
Best Friends Animal Society is also helping those affected by the hurricanes. Donate here.
AKC Reunite’s Pet Disaster Relief Funds helps local emergency management provide animal care services immediately after a disaster. Donate here.
There are many, many smaller and more local organizations that can also use your support.
GoFundMe lists a number of grass roots campaigns to raise funds for hurricane relief. You can see a list of opportunities for Irma here, a similar list for Harvey and a new list for Maria. Please keep in mind that these appeals may not be tax-deductible — and always use your wisdom when deciding where and how to donate.
Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Florida helped relief efforts in Texas and Puerto Rico, but its facilities were severely damaged by Irma.
Safe Animal Shelter near Jacksonville, Florida suffered flood damage and needs donations to get back into operation.
The Houston Pet Set, a 501(c)(3) umbrella organization, has also set up a Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund that’s accepting monetary contributions online.
Daisy Cares is looking for volunteers, as well as accepting donations of dog food and supplies, and monetary donations through their website.
Elite Daily offers a short list of Puerto Rico-based organizations that can use your support.
The Lafayette, Louisiana Daily Advertiser offers this list of shelters and rescue orgs ready to provide emergency housing to displaced pets:
Austin Pets Alive
Animal Rescue of New Orleans
San Antonio Humane Society
SPCA of Texas
Among natural disasters, hurricane induced floods arguably have some of the most devastating long-term effects, and it could be months or several years before things return to normal in the flooded areas, so the need for assistance will be ongoing. Sadly, the aftermath won’t go away just because the story fades from the news, but every bit we do to help now will make things easier later.
Are you in the area affected by Harvey, Irma or Maria, or affiliated with a shelter or rescue involved in helping animals in the flood zones? Or do you know of other charities that are helping out? Let us know in the comments below.