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Monday, December 17, 2018  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Local groups lend a hand to animal shelters overwhelmed by Hurricane Harvey

Clyde the dog looks out from his pen at the SpokAnimal animal shelter. Spokane Humane Society, SpokAnimal and the Kootenai Humane Society have all agreed to take in some new residents so that Texas and Louisiana shelters can make room for newly homeless animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Clyde the dog looks out from his pen at the SpokAnimal animal shelter. Spokane Humane Society, SpokAnimal and the Kootenai Humane Society have all agreed to take in some new residents so that Texas and Louisiana shelters can make room for newly homeless animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

As parts of Texas and Louisiana remain inundated in the wake of extreme rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, local animal shelters are opening their doors to scores of creatures from down south.

The Spokane Humane Society, SpokAnimal, and the Kootenai Humane Society have all agreed to take in some new residents so that Texas and Louisiana shelters can make room for displaced and newly homeless animals. The new Spokane arrivals will free up room at shelter’s closer to Harvey’s points of impact.

One group, Wings of Rescue, is working with the Kootenai Humane Society and SpokAnimal to bring in cats and dogs. The group said in a Facebook post Thursday that it has already flown nearly 400 animals to various locations in the U.S., and it said 100 animals will fly from Texas to Oregon and Washington state Friday.

The Kootenai Humane Society isn’t new to working with Wings of Rescue, said Debbie Jeffrey, the shelter’s executive director. The shelter takes in animals from flights every other week, including dogs from Arizona just last week, Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey said her shelter houses about 22 dogs at the moment, and they are prepared for the new animals to arrive as early as Monday.

“Our shelter is taking a few more than we normally would [due to the storm],” she said. “We’ve already been getting Facebook comments from people wanting to help.”

SpokAnimal could not be reached for comment by press time, but Jeffrey – who has coordinated with Wings of Rescue and the other shelter – said she believes SpokAnimal plans on taking in 30 new animals.

While the Spokane Humane Society isn’t working with Wings of Rescue, it works with another rescue partner who drives animals to the shelter, said Pia Hallenberg, the group’s development director and a former Spokesman-Review reporter. The group has taken in animals from New Mexico and California in the past, she said.

The Spokane Humane Society is looking at about 40 new residents this weekend, and it expects to have the capacity for more later on, Hallenberg said.

While this transport will only include current shelter residents, the Spokane Humane Society expects to see another with animals directly affected by the hurricane, executive director Sheila Geraghty said in an email.

For those unable to adopt a pet, shelters are still looking for support in the form of donated food, dog beds and more, Hallenberg said. She said the Spokane Humane Society takes donated items and puts them right on the transport trucks to head back to the areas in need.

“We’re so grateful for all the help we’ve gotten,” Hallenberg said. “We’ve already gotten donations … but we and the other shelters always need more.”


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