SAN FRANCISCO - Some Bay Area animal rescue groups have stepped up to help overcrowded animal shelters in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Last night a private plane packed full of cats and dogs landed in Oakland from Texas and now volunteers are busy trying to find homes for about six dozen pets.
Four agencies including the Milo Foundation out of Point Richmond, Mad Dog Rescue, the San Francisco SPCA and Muttville Senior Dog Rescue will be offering up 15 cats and 54 dogs in about three days.
Right now the animals are getting bathed, fed, immunized and spayed and neutered.
"All of the animals that we've extracted out of the Hurricane Harvey zone were animals that were part of the shelter and adoption system" said Ryan Darfler, Director of Mad Dog Rescue. When Harvey struck, shelters in the hurricane belt needed to make room for animals actually displaced by floods.
"So when the flood waters started to hit the area, they called Austin Pets Alive and APA helped to evacuate close to 2000 dogs and 1000 cats within a three-day period," said Darfler.
Bay Area volunteers flew to Texas in private plane donated by Sonoma-based Charlie's Acres.
"[It was] literally a 12-hour whirlwind of activity," said Sherri Franklin, the Founder and CEO of Muttville Senior
Dog Rescue in San Francisco, which saves older dogs from euthanasia.
They brought crates full of supplies and medications and swapped them out for cats and dogs.
"I just feel like that whole community there was so grateful that we had come," said Franklin. "There were volunteers literally in tears when we left."
Once in San Francisco, the crew called people like Kelly Marston to foster the animals until they could prep them all for adoption.
"I have friends who are displaced in Houston and I'm so far away from them, but still this is way that I can help and do something tangible and make a difference, in addition to my donations,"s aid Marston. "Yhis is a life that really needs a place and be able to be given a second chance."
"It's amazing that people are just rising to the occasion," said Larie Flaherty of Mill Valley, who fostered two dogs who happen to be sisters. "This is Iris and this is Tulip, we call them 'the flower girls'. They are in need of a loving home. They've bonded so the hope is that they can be adopted as a pair."
Each agency has a live Facebook page where it update information on adoptions for each cat and dog.
"We're in need of additional foster families and volunteers," said Darfler. "Because we're hoping to make this a recurrent thing. Austin and Houston are not going to recover in a week or two. This is gonna be a six-month to year recovery for animals."