HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Houston is home to about 1 million homeless dogs and cats, and Harvey damaged many of the shelters housing them.
Now Colorado rescue groups are stepping up to help — with hundreds of them headed to the state on Thursday.
“We have approximately 800,000 to 1.2 million homeless animals roaming our streets. That’s dogs and cats. They are all over the place. So strays are being picked up all the time and Harvey exacerbated that problem,” said Laura Carlock, with Rescued Pets Movement.
The Houston-based pet rescue trying to shelter these strays after the storm.
It said it’s working with 21 Colorado rescue groups to find forever families for about 400 furry friends.
“I think we are seeing the tip of it right now. I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” she said of the number of homeless pets.
But first, the animal organization is trying to line up 14 cargo vans to drive the animals to Colorado — and is having trouble because in the hurricane aftermath, all are rented out.
But the motivation of volunteers is plentiful with many offering to drive their own minivans.
“We are starting to take people up on that,” Carlock said.
“The devastation that is left behind for humans and animals is hard to put into words,” said Kelley Lombardo with 2 Blondes All Breed Rescue.
Those volunteers will drop off about 30 dogs at Lombardo’s rescue on Friday.
The rescue will need help of its own, from foster families willing to take in the homeless animals.
“They are emotional creatures as well. They really need foster homes to have them have a soft place to land, for people with kindness in their hearts to open their home for two to four weeks,” she said.
The Highlands Ranch rescue has opened its home to Sally, a Houston dog, but pre-hurricane. She’s been with Lombardo’s family for nearly four months.
“They really can become the piece that is missing in a person’s life,” said Lee Elson, who is also heading up the rescue.
“Even if you can only save one, you are saving the life of an animal. It’s kind of nice having a wake-up call that they can’t do it without us.”
Rescued Pets Movement said it will probably do transports with hurricane-ravaged dogs and cats for another two to three months.