How to Help Shelters and Rescues Affected by Recent Hurricanes

hurricanes dog rescue

One right after another, three recent catastrophic hurricanes — Harvey, Irma and Maria — wreaked havoc on Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Hundreds of thousands of people are now without homes, and animal shelters have been taking in their pets. Hundreds of shelter dogs and cats were flown to facilities in other states to make room for all the incoming pets.

One of the most helpful things you can do, even if it’s just for a week, is provide a temporary home for a displaced dog. Visit the Foster a Hurricane Pet website to find a perfect match. Or, better yet, adopt a shelter dog who was evacuated to make room for four-legged hurricane refugees.

Here are some of the other ways you can help shelters and rescues in the affected areas. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list. If you know of other shelters and rescues that need post-hurricane help, please leave a comment.


Austin Pets Alive!

The Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) shelter, which itself was flooded during a 2015 storm, rescued over 2,000 pets after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston. It acted as a supply hub for other shelters in need, and opened temporary shelters in Houston as well as Austin.

“We cannot express our gratitude for the continued support from the Austin Pets Alive! community – both new and old,” the nonprofit, which is dedicated to keeping Austin no kill, wrote on its website.

You can help by:


BARC is the City of Houston’s animal shelter and adoption facility, and the only city shelter in Houston required by law to accept every animal that comes through its doors regardless of breed, temperament, health conditions or circumstance.

You can help by:

Houston SPCA

Located at ground zero, the Houston SPCA is still making water rescues, spokeswoman Julie Kuenstle told KHOU Sept. 21.

  • You can help by fostering a pet, especially if you live in Texas or Louisiana.

SPCA of Texas

The SPCA of Texas, located in Dallas, is “putting every available resource behind assisting pets and people who have evacuated the Gulf Coast to the North Texas area,” according to its website. It “has provided and continues to provide all needed pet supplies as these families pick up their pets so that the pets have all they need until their owners are able to purchase further supplies.”

Tall Tails Animal Rescue

When a dam was opened without warning Aug. 28 near Hankamer, Texas, where Tall Tails Animal Rescue is located, its kennels were flooded with over a foot of rising water, putting the lives of over 100 dogs in danger.

After Tall Tails founders Kat K Tschirgi and Kevin Miller put out cries for help on social media, volunteers in boats arrived to save some of the dogs. A video of the rescue effort has been viewed more than 244,000 times.

While all the animals were fortunately saved, the kennels and house were destroyed. The couple plans to rebuild in another location so they can continue rescuing and rehabilitating sick, injured and pregnant dogs.

  • You can help by making a cash donation.


Florida Keys SPCA

“As we look forward, it becomes clear this will be a long haul for our community to restore our way of life to pre-Irma days,” the Florida Keys SPCA (FKSPCA) wrote on its Facebook page Sept. 19.

“The FKSPCA will make every effort to help keep animals in their homes as opposed to being surrendered due to displacement of their pet owners by assisting with foster care options, sheltering options through our FAITH program, and routine and wellness care options.”

You can help by:

Gulf Coast Humane Society

Income for the Gulf Coast Humane Society (GCHS), the oldest non-profit animal welfare organization in southwest Florida, was frozen for nearly two weeks as the Fort Myers shelter prepared for and then cleaned up after Irma.

Humane Society Naples

After Hurricane Irma battered Naples with 135 mph winds, the Florida town was left without power and residents were advised to boil water. Because of these dire conditions, the 79 dogs (and 64 cats) at Humane Society Naples (HSN) were flown across the country to the San Diego Humane Society.

HSN is currently taking in pets that have been left homeless due to Irma. “Naples residents are already overwhelmed and most aren’t ready to add another family member during this difficult time,” it wrote on its website. “We have no doubt that there are countless families in another state who want to give loving homes to a ‘Hurricane Irma’ pet.”

You can help by:

Humane Society of Broward County

The Humane Society of Broward County (HSBC) in Fort Lauderdale “not only weathered the massive storm but also sprang into action to help other areas of the state that were devastated by the hurricane — all thanks to long hours of smart planning and preparation by HSBC’s dedicated team,” according to its website.

You can help by:

Humane Society of Greater Miami

Two weeks after Irma struck, the Humane Society of Greater Miami was “happy to report that we have been able to move some of our pets back into their original rooms after the hurricane,” according to its Facebook page. “Although we still have a long road ahead of us to fully recover from Irma’s impact, we are surely on our way!”


Island Dog

The mission of Island Dog, a nonprofit based on Puerto Rico’s east coast, is to raise awareness of the suffering and cruelty animals endure in the U.S. Caribbean Islands. To help reduce the number of strays, it provides low-cost spay and neuter clinics around the island.

Just before Maria struck, Island Dog co-founder Sali Gear chartered a plane and flew 300 animals to safety at her farm in Virginia. From there, the animals were taken in by rescue groups and will hopefully find forever homes around the country.

Second Chance Animal Rescue of Puerto Rico

Located in the mountains of Villalba, Second Chance Animal Rescue of Puerto Rico is usually home to over 150 animals. Because of the lack of electricity and cell phone service throughout the island, it’s not yet known whether the shelter withstood the hurricane.

“The most we can do is to raise money to help them recover the shelter and evacuate rescues to our stateside support teams as soon as roads are passable and flights are available,” the nonprofit wrote on its website.

The Sato Project

The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs from Puerto Rico. Over the past six years the nonprofit has saved more than 1,600 dogs, mainly from “Dead Dog Beach” where pets are dumped and often, as the name sadly implies, do not survive.

Dead Dog Beach is located on the southeastern coast in Yabucoa, which was directly hit by Maria on Sept. 20, with 155 mph winds, torrential rain and flooding. According to an update on The Sato Project’s Facebook page three days later, the dogs in its shelter survived, but the structure suffered catastrophic damage.

  • You can help by making a cash donation to The Sato Project’s Hurricane Relief Fund. According to the website, doing so will “help mobilize critically needed supplies and support to our team on the ground in Puerto Rico, and to transport as many dogs as we can to safety in the coming days and weeks.”

Photo credit: Texas National Guard

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!