INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Staff and volunteers at the local humane society are putting in extra hours to make sure dogs rescued from Texas after Winter Storm Uri feel safety, comfort and love.
“It’s an honor to be able to open up our doors and provide shelter for animals in need,” Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County Community Relations Manager Mindy Miller told Vero News. “It’s neat to see how shelters across the U.S. collaborate and have the same mission to save as many (animal) lives as possible.”
Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, based at the humane society in West Palm Beach, led the efforts to rescue 70 dogs from shelters in Texas. The dogs were flown to a West Palm Beach airport Wednesday. Workers then took 18 to the Vero Beach humane society.
“Even though the rescue groups in Texas are working around-the-clock to make sure the animals are provided the best care, many of the Texas shelters are open air and did not have the infrastructure to deal with the winter storm and freezing temperatures,” The Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County officials said. “Many shelters suffered power outages, and some are still without water.”
Winter Storm Uri – which lasted from Feb. 13 to Feb. 17 – contributed to 70 deaths in the U.S., caused massive blackouts and led to the ongoing Texas power crisis. The dogs rescued from Texas will be evaluated, receive medical care and be placed up for adoption.
“Our Texas dogs are all settled in now here at the shelter,” Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County officials said in a Wednesday Facebook post. “We cannot thank our amazing staff and volunteers enough for putting in the extra hours and care to make sure these pups feel safe, comfortable and loved.”
For the rescue mission, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue partnered with Wings of Rescue, a nonprofit that flies at-risk shelter pets from disaster areas and overcrowded shelters to safe havens. The dogs were taken from Austin Pets Alive animal shelter in Texas before being flown to Florida.
The Austin-based shelter aims to transport at least 1,000 dogs from Texas to different shelters throughout the U.S. Austin Pets Alive officials said the storm’s aftermath left many of the pets at risk of euthanasia.
Many of the shelters were already full or lacked the resources to help them, officials say.
“Animal shelters can become quickly overwhelmed by infrastructure damage and increased intake following catastrophic weather events,” Austin Pets Alive CEO and President Dr. Ellen Jefferson said in a statement. “After Hurricane Harvey, we rescued 5,000 animals. We’re using the lessons we learned then to save every cat and dog we can. We must act now because animals are at risk today.”
Those interested in fostering a pet should visit the Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County website to fill out an application.
Photos provided by Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County