Family struggling to reunite with dogs after Harvey

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Friday, September 15, 2017
Family struggling to reunite with dogs after Harvey
Shirleen Allicot reports on a family's search for their missing dogs after Hurricane Harvey.

VIDOR, Texas -- Many people became separated from their pets during the Hurricane Harvey flood evacuations, and weeks later, some are still trying to find them with rescue groups overwhelmed.

One family forced to evacuate their home in Vidor, near Beaumont, is gradually getting their lives back, one dog at a time.

It started when the Andells had to flee flood waters that began pouring into their mobile home.

"My children are my first priority," she said. "But our pets are a close second."

Kyri Andell said she was told that they couldn't bring their dogs to the town's emergency center, so a friend took the animals to the Ford Center instead. She said someone from the center confirmed that the three dogs were together and doing well.

Later, she sent her mother to pick them up.

"She called me in hysterics and said the dogs weren't there," she said. "That's how the search began."

The Houston SPCA headed rescue and reunion efforts in the Beaumont area, and its work continues there. The family evacuated to Houston, and she began combing the special webpage section for Harvey animals. After 10 days, she said the SPCA notified her that Buster, one of her dogs, was at a kennel it hired to house some of the recovered pets.

"I said, fine, but where are my other two dogs?" she said.

She picked up Buster Wednesday. On Thursday, she went to the kennel to get Nikki, her second dog.

"He was at the same place as Buster," she said. "And his picture was never on the website."

It was the animal rescue community she said that helped her locate Nikki. Her Facebook live post generated thousands of shares, and it mobilized rescuers on social media to find her two missing dogs. Nikki was independently traced she said to the same contracted kennel where she had her reunion today.

"That's how this all happened," animal rescuer Kathy Vasquez said. "So many people were looking for her dogs, and because so many people connected to her story."

The detective work also led to Austin, where a volunteer had taken Sharkey, Andell's third dog. She said she's thankful for the care he provided, and she traveled to Austin Friday to retrieve her last dog.

In response the Houston SPCA issued this statement: The Houston SPCA is always delighted to hear when an owner has reunited with its pets. That's certainly our goal particularly in the aftermath of Harvey. In fact, the Houston SPCA has rescued more than 1000 animals following the catastrophe with over 130 reunions to date.