A team from Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, along with members of MSCPA-Angell, are on the ground today in Austin, Texas, to relocate more than 100 cats and dogs from shelters ravaged by the devastating winter storm earlier this month that has wreaked havoc across the Lone Star state.
Jamie Garabedian, a spokesperson for the shelter, said two separate teams — consisting of eight staff members, four vans and dozens of pet carriers — set off for Texas "at the crack on dawn" on Tuesday to arrive at the shelter Austin Pets Alive, where they readied more than 100 pets for safe transport to Massachusetts.
Both teams are due to return to Massachusetts late Friday evening, and the animals will immediately be brought to both organization's facilities for a mandatory 48-hour quarantine, according to Garabedian.
"(The storm) left millions without power, heat, and/or water and thousands of animals entered shelters all across the state," she said in a news release. "With limited resources and maxed out capacity, many shelters have reached their breaking point. So in coordination with Austin Pets Alive!, we sprang into action to help facilitate the largest transport of pets this week."
Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at the MSPCA — and interim director of NEAS — said the stakes could not be higher for the animals involved.
“This situation is as critical as it gets for animals because even though shelters like Austin Pets Alive! are doing everything humanly possible to respond to the crisis, there are just too many homeless animals, too little space to house them, and too few resources available to meet their needs — and when disasters strike, the animal welfare community comes together to help animals in need,” said Keiley in a news release.
“NEAS’ affiliation with the MSPCA means we can help more animals than either organization can alone,” he added.
The arrival of so many animals at once will place a great strain on already limited resources for both organizations, according to the shelter. Anyone who would like to donate toward the cost of their care can do so at www.neas.org/texas.
“We’re going to do all we can for these animals, for as long as it takes to get them into loving homes,” said Keiley. “Any help that the public can provide will help ensure they receive veterinary care and other essentials, so that they all get the second chance they deserve.”