Hundreds of Animals 'Hunker Down' in Rescue Shelters

Houston's Animal Shelters are on the front lines of hurricane recovery efforts. Hundreds of animals on Galveston Island and in the rest of the region were hurt or lost during Hurricane Ike. Laurie Johnson has more.
image of Scales' 2 German ShepardsThomas and Debra Scales evacuated from Galveston Island at the last minute. They had no way to transport their two German Shepherds, King and Heidi.

"Just in case the fence blew down and we'd lose them, we put them in our garage because we've got a very small vehicle. And we were going to Longview to our daughter's house, so we had to leave our dogs behind and hopefully they went through the storm alright. We didn't know if they were dead or alive or what, we didn't know anything."

The dogs did make it through. The Scales were reunited with King and Heidi at Houston SPCA. But it's not just household pets that need help after a hurricane.

"Oh my gosh, we've been inundated with the wildlife."

SPCA Public Relations Manager Meera Nandlal.

image of spca feeding baby squirrels"Whenever there's a storm, baby squirrels and baby birds get knocked from their nests. And now we're close to 1,000 baby squirrels that are being nursed back to health in our wildlife rehab and education center."

You heard that. An entire room is filled with hundreds of baby squirrels, napping on towels in empty fish tanks, hand-fed every few hours.

And they've rescued turtles, snakes, brown pelicans, songbirds. All of this has put a strain on the organizations resources. They're quickly running out of dog food and cat food. And they're looking for short-term foster families.

"There's a 10-day period in that Houstonians can foster these animals. If after that 10-day period they have not been reunited with their owner, the person fostering has the opportunity to adopt the animal or bring it back to the shelter where we will put it up for adoption."

And the Houston SPCA is just one of several organizations recovering animals, including the Houston Humane Society, Harris County Animal Control and BARC.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...