CINCINNATI -- Not all victims of Hurricane Harvey are human.
Thousands of dogs and cats have been displaced by the catastrophic flooding that has gripped coastal Texas. Many will wait days, week or even months to be reunited with their families; many others may never see such a reunion at all.
Around 250,000 animals were left behind when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2006. Some died. Some became feral. Some made it back to their families. In the most tragic cases, owners stayed behind and drowned rather than part with pets that rescuers refused to accept aboard their vehicles.
Emily Gear hopes for a brighter outlook for the animal victims of Hurricane Harvey, which is why she and other members of her nonprofit, Louie's Legacy, will head to Austin on Sunday to do their part.
Louie's Legacy will be picking up a group of animals from an Austin shelter and bringing them back to seek forever families in Cincinnati.
"We can make space in the Austin shelter for the animals in Houston that are still being picked up and rescued from their homes," she said.
The pets Gear and her colleagues pick up will not be those newly displaced by the hurricane, she said, but will make room for those pets to stay in local shelters where their families won't have to travel too far to find them.
"You can't just take animals from a flood zone and sent them to a rescue for adoption," she said. "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."
The group is seeking foster parents for the animals they retrieve from Austin. Anyone who believes they could take in an animal from that trip can apply to do so online.
For more coverage of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, visit WCPO.com/harvey.