Pets rescued from Hurricane Harvey arrive in San Diego

More than 60 rescued cats and dogs from Texas have made their way to San Diego.

Staff members from Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe returned to the center Sept. 5 with 65 dogs and cats of all ages, who were rescued by Operation Pets Alive! and other Houston shelters to make room for animals that were displaced as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

According to a news release from the Woodward Center, Houston shelters became too overcrowded to accommodate the victims who needed a place to keep their dogs and cats.

"The help is important and necessary but has also left little-to-no room to take in stranded orphan dogs and cats," explained the Woodward Center.

Montgomery-County Animal Shelter and Operation Pets Alive!, of Montgomery County, Texas, joined forces to save the nearly 700 pets from potential euthanasia and give them dry places to stay with food, water and required medical attention.

The Woodward Center agreed to help with the rescue efforts, made possible by Southwest Airlines. The airline and its employees donated their airplane and time to ensure the animals arrived safely, according to the Woodward Center.

Jennifer Shorey, operations director for the Woodward Center, was one of the four staff members who flew to Texas on Aug. 31 to volunteer to help the animals. She described the trip as emotional, as she held a 10-week-old rescued puppy.

“We wanted to be helpful in any way we could,” she said. “We were working a lot at the convention center, which became a relief center for a lot of the pets that had been displaced and evacuated. ... We worked directly with the shelters to take animals out of the shelters for those who were displaced. None of these are owned animals. They were all sheltered or in foster homes. We did what we could to alleviate that pressure because there’s going to be an influx of animals that are displaced from the hurricane.”

The animals will be available for adoption beginning Sept. 7, Shorey said. People should visit animalcenter.org to see adoption updates of when animals are available.

Helen Woodward is asking that members of the public who wish to make Harvey-related donations give to Operation Pets Alive! at www.operationpetsalive.org or the Montgomery-County Animal Shelter at www.mcaspets.org, and not Helen Woodward.

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