In the wake of Hurricane Harvey‘s path of destruction, vehicles, homes, and most importantly, lives have been lost. As of August 31, 2017, there have been 39 deaths related to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. While rescue efforts continue throughout Texas, parts of the state are still under inches of floodwater. Relief has been underway for several days, but countless humans and their furry friends alike still need help.
The images of animals struggling to find safety are truly heartbreaking. However, the heroic actions of the brave people who’ve saved them from the flooding is quickly restoring our faith in humanity. If you’re anything like us, and are searching for a way to help in some capacity, here are a few places to start.
1. Donate to the Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society has locations across the country, and it’s the animal organization we all know and love. Even before the storm hit, the HSUS Animal Rescue Team deployed to Texas to make room in shelters and begin moving animals out of Harvey’s path.
At this stage in the disaster relief process, the team is focusing their efforts on animal rescue and transport. Making a donation will ensure the team is able to get to as many animals as possible, and no amount is too small.
Click here to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund to “help animals in urgent need.”
2. Offer your pet-friendly place up for free on Airbnb
Harvey has left countless people and their pets without shelter. In an effort to provide victims of the storm with temporary housing, Airbnb is teaming up with hosts to offer free places to stay. If you are an Airbnb host who can accommodate pets, please consider listing it free of charge.
3. Donate to the ASPCA
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is another national organization that’s on the ground with a relief team. More specifically, the disaster relief team is currently distributed among search-and-rescue, and sheltering and relocation teams in the areas affected by the storm.
According to the organization’s website, “Hurricane Harvey has been downgraded to an active tropical storm, but the unprecedented rainfall and flooding continues, requiring emergency shelter for tens of thousands of residents and their pets.”
Click here to donate to the ASPCA.
4. Send requested items to local animal shelters
Vast areas of Texas and Louisiana have been affected, which means there are plenty of local animal shelters in desperate need of assistance. Do a quick Google search to find out which shelters are in an area you’d like to donate to, and you may be able to find specific items they need most right now.
For instance, the Harris County Animal Shelter has a wish list set up on Amazon so people know exactly what to send. And there are tons of others in the same position. Just be sure the wish list is legitimate before you pay for and send an item.
5. Volunteer your time and skills assisting on the ground
Relief efforts are in need of people ready and willing to help on the ground. If you’re an animal welfare professional looking for hands-on volunteer opportunities, there’s an easy way to sign up. You can fill out this volunteer form, which will then be shared directly with Houston SPCA and SPCA of Texas. You’ll then be notified by the appropriate organization with the next steps.
6. Foster a pet
Some shelters are seeking individuals willing to temporarily house pets affected by the storm. One organization that’s in need of foster homes is Dallas Pets Alive. If this kind of opportunity is what you’re looking for, you can fill out an application here.
7. Adopt a pet
If you’re able to take fostering one step further, committing to pet adoption is a great way to make a lasting impact in not only an animal’s life, but in the greater relief efforts overall. For instance, while the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services is at full capacity for volunteers, the organization has several animals up for adoption. By adopting a pet, you’ll be helping to make more space available for evacuee animals, as they’re acting as an emergency pet shelter for displaced families with animals. Visit their website for contact details.
8. Donate to equine/livestock organizations
Texas is no stranger to farm animals and livestock, but these types of pets are often overlooked at first. However, organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of these animals are in desperate need of support, namely in the financial department. Veterinary services, cleanup efforts, and feed all cost a lot of money.
Click here for a list of specific organizations in need.
9. Call the hotline to report animals in need
The good news is that the SPCA of Texas is at full capacity for both volunteers and fosters (although they’re still looking for financial donations), but there are still plenty of animals that need help. The Houston SPCA has an Animal Emergency Response Hotline taking calls for disaster-related reports. If you see something and can’t help yourself, call 713-861-3010.
For more information and to stay up to date as relief efforts continue to develop, visit CNN.com.