CINCINNATI -- After more than 20 hours on the road, two trucks full of furry Texan refugees displaced by Hurricane Harvey arrived in the Queen City, and foster families were waiting to take them home.
Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue, a local nonprofit, traveled to Houston Sunday to create space in Texan animal shelters by taking dogs and cats from there to Cincinnati, where they can find forever homes. Texan shelters need the room, volunteer Jamie Schoger explained, to house pets who were separated by their families by the hurricane.
"You can't just take animals from a flood zone and sent them to a rescue for adoption," founder Emily Gear explained before the trip. "Their families may be looking for them. They can go to the Austin shelter where they are safe and dry, and the families in Houston can go and find them there."
"We learned a lot from Katrina," added Carol Locos. "We decided that we wanted to keep the animals directly affected by the hurricane close to home so they can be reunited with their families."
Around 250,000 animals were left behind when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2006, and some families struggled for months to find and reclaim animals that had been transported out of state or adopted by other families while their original owners searched for them.
— Ashley Zilka (@ashleyzilka) September 6, 2017
Animals who had been housed in Austin and Houston shelters before the hurricane will find homes in other parts of the country. Louie's Legacy prepped their fosters well in advance to make sure the Texan pets would be delivering into safe, loving arms.
"We have been talking about it for a while and so we figured, 'What better time to do it than now to help out the Hurricane Harvey dogs?'" said Kellie Mankin, a first-time foster who took home a Texan dog Tuesday night.
Louie's Legacy is always seeking foster families, and more out-of-state pets will be on the way soon: The organization is already planning another rescue trip as Hurricane Irma brews in the Atlantic.
For more coverage of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, visit WCPO.com/harvey.