Photo: submitted Cindy Archer with a dog transported from Texas to Metro Vancouver before hurricane Harvey hit last weekend.

Surrey group works to save dogs from flooded Houston shelters

Issue of abandoned and shelter dogs in Texas always a large problem, hurricane has made things worse

The issue of abandoned and shelter dogs in Texas has always been a large problem, and flooding from hurricane Harvey has only made things worse.

So says a Surrey-area woman leading an effort to bring dogs from hurricane-hit Houston across the border to Metro Vancouver.

Cindy Archer runs Black Dog Rescue Group, an organization of volunteers in Canada and Texas who are “passionate about saving dogs and puppies from high-kill rate shelters located in Texas.”

“We’ve been in operation for five years,” Archer told the Now-Leader on Wednesday.

“We do foster care for dogs. We do applications, screen people, and then we ask people to foster dogs until we get them adopted. We arrange all that… I do customs and immigration and bring dogs across the border, it’s all done properly.”

This week, Archer and others are working to arrange cross-border transportation of dogs from flooded shelters in Houston and other hurricane-struck areas, as early as Sunday (Sept. 3).

“We’re working on getting a convoy now, to get the (dogs) up here, hopefully within a week,” explained Archer.

“When people fled (the Houston area), some of them just left their dogs behind, and 90 per cent of them will never get reclaimed,” Archer added.

“The problem is, there’s no paperwork for the dogs, so we have to get them all into a vet, get them all vaccinated, rabies (shots), microchipped and health certificates and get them on transport. It’s tough with that (number) of dogs. We’re hoping to have the first 100 within a week or 10 days, but I’ll know better by the end of the day.”

Black Dog is “joint-venturing” with rescue (groups) in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, according to a post on the group’s Facebook page. “75 dogs will be coming from Texas. They are being euthanized in order to make room for hurricane Harvey dogs. The hurricane Harvey dogs need to stay in their local area in order to be reunited with their owners. There is no more room there – never was room. Can you foster? The dogs will be going to British Columbia, Washington State, Utah and Oregon.”

With Black Dog’s help, 17 dogs were transported here from Texas before the hurricane hit last weekend.

“We knew it was coming,” Archer said. “This is a big undertaking. The hurricane, it went from a Stage 1 to a Stage 4. One of the shelters we work with, the dogs were up to their neck in water. They’re using float planes and jet skis and boats and everything to get them out. It’s always been problem, which is why we do rescue of out of Texas, and now it’s a state of emergency with the hurricane. It’s not just dogs, of course — it’s cats, horses, all kinds of animals, but I’ve strictly always been a dog rescue.”

Now, donations are needed to help with the post-hurricane rescue of dogs.

“Many dogs and cats will die or be euthanized without help from fosters,” says a post on Black Dog Rescue Group’s Facebook page. “We need to get these pets homes until they are adopted.”

Late Tuesday, Sue Vandervelde, on behalf of Black Dog Rescue, contacted the Now-Leader with an appeal.

“She (Archer) needs lots and lots of fosters for the Texas hurricane dogs that will be coming here,” Vandervelde wrote. “She needs donations of food (cat and dog food) blankets, crates, leashes, collars, Walmart or gas gift cards for transport. She is arranging to start transport as soon as the roads clear in Houston. The dogs’ and cats’ homes are gone and they will die without us. Many dogs are tied up and deserted.”

Donations can be made on the PayPal website to Blackdogrescue19@hotmail.com, Vandervelde added.

Also, donations can be dropped off at Apollo Animal Hospital in Cloverdale, at 17525 56th Ave.

“We need hands across the nation,” Vandervelde added. “We will send a bus back full of supplies for all rescues and (families) that need food for their pets.”

tom.zillich@ surreynowleader.com