The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent cats and dogs from Harvey-ravaged Harris County to Bryan, but local animal shelter representatives ask that residents not take it upon themselves to do the same.
Kathy Bice, executive director for the Aggieland Humane Society, describes the network of animal shelters across the U.S. as a pipeline. When Harvey hit, the Aggieland Humane Society sent 20 animals to a Nebraska shelter to make room for 27 animals from Houston.
The transfer of animals happens all the time, says Bice, although generally it’s more of an exchange. The Aggieland Humane Society will send mainly cats and dogs to Harris County, and Houston animal shelters will send goats, pigs and other typically more rural animals to Brazos County.
It’s typically a matter of which animals there is a demand for geographically — Bice recounts a time 100 chickens were sent to the Aggieland Humane Society and “placed within 24 hours.”
When residents take it on their own volition to rescue a dog in another town and bring it to Bryan-College Station, however, Bice said it typically makes things worse as animals may have owners in the originating area.
Bice recounts two women looking to be helpful who rescued a dog they found in Victoria after Harvey and brought it to the Aggieland Humane Society recently.
Case in point, one microchipped dog has been “rescued” from Hearne three times — each time the Aggieland Humane Society has had to bring the dog back to its family.
“If you find a dog when you are floating the river in Comal County, it needs to go to a shelter in Comal County,” says Leiha White, operations manager for the Aggieland Humane Society.
When it comes to helping local shelters or shelters in Harvey-ravaged areas, Bice recommends finding out what the shelter needs before donating.
“If you send stuff without a connection, you add to the problem,” Bice said. “In most disaster areas, getting the money for the food would be better than getting the food.”
She recommends reaching out to the shelter directly to see what they want or even seeing if they have an Amazon wishlist.
The Aggieland Humane Society always welcomes donations and canned cat food, Brice said, but what they really need now are residents to free up space for more animals by adopting.
Today, the group will have a fee-waived adoption event at the Sterling Subaru dealership in Bryan. The event is made possible by the hosting company, which has paid for the adoption fees, including the standard “adoption package,” which includes free microchipping, spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and a month of pet insurance.
Among those being adopted are the remaining animals sent from Houston. These animals were sent to Bryan to make room for the animals rescued after Harvey, which Bice said means the animals don’t have owners searching for them.
Cats, dogs, kittens and puppies will be staged on site at the Sterling Subaru dealership off of Texas 6 in Bryan, from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.
Aspiring pet owners will still need to fill out applications and be approved to adopt. To save time, those interested may be preapproved for adoption by filling out a form online ahead of time at aggielandhumane.org/adopt.