Animals rescued from Hurricane Harvey arrive in the Bay Area

- More than 70 cats and dogs affected by Hurricane Harvey arrived in San Francisco from Texas Sunday night in need of new homes. The animals were previously homeless before the hurricane. The shelters in Austin are now inundated with animals. Several Bay Area rescue groups are stepping up to help.

The pets arrived at the San Francisco SPCA at 9 p.m. on a private plane filled to capacity flying into Oakland from Austin. The animals were brought to the Bay Area to safety from Hurricane Harvey's devastating floods.

“It’s devastating in Texas right now and everyone wants to help,” said Laurie Routhier of the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue is one of four Bay Area animal rescue groups along with the San Francisco SPCA, the Milo Foundation and Mad Dog Rescue taking care of the animals from the Austin Pets Alive Shelter.

They're helping the Austin shelter clear space and make room since it’s now flooded with tens of thousands of animals who have lost their homes or families displaced from the hurricane.

“By bringing in these animals and finding them homes here in the Bay Area those shelters will be able to rescue those animals and hopefully reunite them with their own families,” said Routhier.

The animals brought to the Bay Area by a private jet donated by Sonoma-based Charlie’s Acres that left at 7 a.m. in Oakland to Austin with crates and kennels filled with supplies including vaccines, flea and tick medications, and antibiotics.

“I think the hearts of animal lovers all over the United States have really gone out,” said Suzanne Hollis of the San Francisco SPCA. “We feel so much for the victims of the flood and some of those victims are four legged.”
The San Francisco SPCA rescued animals from Hurricane Katrina and said many pets get lost in the chaos in a major disaster.

“Harkening back to that day and the devastation we saw then is something that really gave us the impetus to do this now,” said Hollis.

The Parras adopted a new kitten from the SPCA and wondered what happened to the pets left behind in the hurricane.

“Animals suffer so much in these types of disasters as much as humans do too,” said Kasia Parra of San Francisco. “I’m really glad there's work being done to help rescue and save.”

“Dogs that are coming from sad situations come here and everything turns around,” said Routhier. “It's a new beginning.”

The SPCA will have 15 dogs and 15 cats. Muttville Dog Rescue will have a dozen dogs and the remainder of the animals will go to the Milo Foundation and Mad Dog Rescue. They should be available for adoption by the end of this week.

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