Seven lucky dogs and six lucky cats arrived in Napa on Sunday, Sept. 17, part of a larger group of pets rescued from chaotic, post-hurricane conditions in Houston by a coalition of animal care organizations.
These animals had been living in a Houston shelter before Hurricane Harvey struck earlier this month, said Monica Stevens, co-founder of the Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR) of St. Helena, which joined a group of organizations to fly a total of 73 dogs and cats out of Texas.
In the aftermath of the destructive hurricane, Houston’s shelters are overrun by lost animals and pets whose owners no longer have the ability to care for them, Stevens said recently.
By flying a group of pets to the Bay Area, organizations are making room for Houston shelters to absorb more animals, she said.
All of the animals were vetted, vaccinated and checked over for medical problems by Mad Dog Rescue’s Disaster Relief Team and a veterinary technician, Bergen Verdu, deployed from JARR prior to being given clearance for transfer to California.
Actor Renee Zellweger, who has been on the ground helping with the animal rescue efforts after Hurricane Harvey, was on hand to help load the dogs and cats onto the plane in Houston, organizers said.
“It was extraordinary to be there, to know all those animals would be safe and have a new life in California,” Stevens said.
The Lucy Foundation of Los Angeles donated the plane that flew the pets to a private airport in Hayward, where they were farmed out to Bay Area groups for care and adoption.
Also participating in the rescue were Mad Dog Rescue, the Milo Foundation, San Francisco SPCA and Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.
“We have an incredible Disaster Relief Team who have been deployed multiple times since the hurricane hit helping with the emergency evacuation of pets,” said Ryan Darfler of Mad Dog Rescue, “We will continue to do so until every animal is safe.”
California has been the destination for other Texas animal rescues by other organizations. A plane with 15 cats and 54 dogs flew into Oakland International Airport, also on Sept. 17.
The 13 cats and dogs coming to Napa were checked over by local veterinarian Dr. Juliana Rockwood before their foster families took them home.
“All were very sweet,” Stevens said of the animals. “Nobody had a bad attitude. They were happy to be in California, I think.”
The animals will be quarantined with foster families for two weeks and will be neutered and spayed as necessary, Stevens said. Some pets are likely to be adopted by their foster families, while others will be put up for adoption locally, she said.
The dogs range from 6 months to 8 years of age and are of all body types, from 20 to 80 pounds, Stevens said. The six cats are all older, she said.
JARR has spent $5,000 from its emergency fund to participate in the Houston rescue, Stevens estimated. An appeal on Facebook has brought in half of that amount, she said.
To learn more about adoptions, contact JARR’s Adoptions and Foster Manager Deassa Binstock at firstname.lastname@example.org.