From Pets To Livestock, Lost Animals Rounded Up In Beaumont's Makeshift Shelter | KERA News

From Pets To Livestock, Lost Animals Rounded Up In Beaumont's Makeshift Shelter

Sep 4, 2017
Originally published on September 4, 2017 4:50 pm

For a storm that has sparked references to flooding on a Biblical scale, it only makes sense that you'd find a kind of Noah's Ark in south Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

On the outskirts of Beaumont, Texas, two huge county fair pavilions the size of baseball diamonds have been transformed by volunteers into a makeshift livestock yard and animal shelter.

It's a bedlam of animals, animal handlers and supply trucks.

"A lot of really critical horses that are in shock, dehydrated, wounds, lacerations," says Nick Moore, a veterinarian from Georgetown, Texas, who volunteered to help care for the large animals being rescued.

There are also geese, dogs, cats and pigs — all hit by the storm and separated from their owners. Amy Walters from Copperas Cove, Texas, spent the last couple days on horseback rounding up lost cattle and bringing them here.

"It's quite the adventure, it's an adrenaline rush for sure — alligators were chewing on cows. There's alligators everywhere and there's snakes and stuff," she says.

Rancher Leopoldo Gonzalez says he and other ranchers have been searching for days for lost livestock. "We're looking for one cow and one bull," Gonzalez says. The cow is pregnant, so they're eager to find her.

Most of the animals here are cats and dogs. Hundreds sit in wire cages: small scruffy dogs, big, scared-looking dogs. For some reason, a lot are Chihuahuas. Volunteers and soldiers walk and comfort them — as well as try to help and comfort pet owners, who turn up looking frightened.

"I've lost a solid black Great Dane, about 4 or 5 years old," says Judy Reed, whose house outside Beaumont is still completely underwater. Reed is elderly and lives alone, and says Shadow is her family. Rescuers left him behind when they carried her away in a boat during the storm.

"I've got to have somebody to talk to, because the TV won't answer," she says. "He doesn't really answer, but he gives me these looks like he understands."

There is no sign of Shadow, but Judy said she'll keep checking back as more animals arrive. Lost pets are held here for 30 days to give owners time to claim them. After that, dogs and cats will be put up for adoption.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

People talk about Harvey flooding South Texas on a biblical scale, so it makes sense that there would be a kind of Noah's Ark in this story. Brian Mann found it in Beaumont, Texas - a massive animal rescue center that's been created by volunteers out of thin air.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: Beaumont still lacks safe drinking water, but on the outskirts of town, two huge county fair pavilions the size of baseball diamonds have been transformed into a livestock yard and animal shelter.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

MANN: It's a bedlam of animals and people and supply trucks. Nick Moore, a veterinarian from Georgetown, Texas, volunteered to help heal the large animals being rescued.

NICK MOORE: A lot of really critical horses that are in shock, dehydrated, wounds, lacerations...

MANN: There are geese and dogs, cats and pigs all hit by the storm, separated from their owners. Amy Walters from Copperas Cove, Texas, spent the last couple days on horseback, rounding up lost cattle, bringing them here.

AMY WALTERS: It's quite the adventure. It's adrenaline rush, for sure. Alligators were chewing on cows. There's alligators everywhere, so - and there's snakes and stuff. So it's - like I said, it's quite the adrenaline rush.

LEOPOLDO GONZALEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

MANN: Leopoldo Gonzalez turns up. He's a rancher who says he's been searching for days for lost livestock.

GONZALEZ: One cow and one bull.

MANN: The cow is pregnant, he says. He's eager to find her.

(CROSSTALK)

MANN: Most of the animals being carried in are cats and dogs. There are hundreds of them in wire cages that stretch far as I can see - small, scruffy dogs; big, scared-looking dogs. For some reason, there are a lot of Chihuahuas. On this afternoon, volunteers and soldiers are caring for the animals - walking them, comforting them, also trying to comfort pet owners who turn up looking frightened.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What animal did you lose track of?

JUDY REED: I've lost a solid black Great Dane, about 4 or 5 years old.

MANN: Judy Reed says her house outside Beaumont is still completely underwater, but what she worries about most is her dog Shadow. She's elderly, all alone and says Shadow is her family. Rescuers left him behind when they carried her away in a boat during the storm.

REED: I got to have somebody to talk to because the TV won't answer. Well, he doesn't really answer, but he gives me these looks like he understands.

MANN: On this day, there's no sign of Shadow. He's not here. Judy says she'll keep checking back as more and more animals arrive. Lost pets are being held here for 30 days to give owners time to claim them. After that, the people running the shelter say the animals will be put up for adoption. Brian Mann, NPR News, Beaumont, Texas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.