On Sunday night, a private plane touched down at Oakland International Airport. Traveling from Houston, the flight was sold out, its seats taken up by 54 dogs and 15 cats, all displaced from overwhelmed shelters in Southeast Texas.
In the week following Hurricane Harvey's record-shattering rainfall, recovery efforts were carried out with a sense of dire urgency. Countless Houstonians were left with nothing but the shells of their former homes, now blanketed by thick films of clay silt. Savings accounts dwindled down to right-of-decimal-point sums; rent was, however, still due for many of the properties caught in Harvey's path. In the ensuing turmoil, hundreds of dogs and cats, young and old, were left to fend for themselves in various Lone Star State shelters.
This week, 69 of those in-need animals found their way to the Bay Area.
Our own San Francisco SPCA joined forces with three other Bay Area local adoption agencies—Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Mad Dog Rescue and Milo Foundation—to rescue dozens of dogs and cats. With transport kennels and leashes in tow, the quickly assembled rescue team boarded a private plane, graciously offered up by an affluent Sonoma county resident, and headed to Houston on a heroic expedition.
"What we can do is relieve those shelters that had all those dogs [prior to the storm] and now they can handle the homeless animals that are being rounded up daily," said Sherri Franklin, founder and CEO of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, to SFGate.
Of the 69 animals, all 15 cats and over a dozen of the rescued shelter pups are now residing at the SF SPCA's Mission campus; all remaining four-legged refugees have been divvied up between Muttville, Mad Dog and Milo (the latter taking the more senior, in-need dogs).
"We're hoping to have all of our animals posted with photos and adoption details on the website within the next week or so," Miriam Martinez, an adoption agent at the SF SPCA, told 7x7 yesterday evening. "Right now, we just have to perform our standard quarantine procedures, then they'll be good to go to the public."
So, if you're in the market to welcome a new four-legged canine or feline into the family, perhaps think about taking in one of these Texas transplants. Adoption fees are rumored to lower than usual or even free at the SF SPCA. Watch for updates online at sfspca.org, milofoundation.org and muttville.org.