Baby squirrels, stray pets fill Austin-area shelters amid storm’s wrath


City of Austin animal shelter needs volunteers to foster pets of evacuees and donations of bedding and towels.

Wildlife rescuers have taken in dozens of doves, rabbits and other wildlife since Harvey arrived.

Even one day of storms can be stressful on pets, and Hurricane Harvey and its remnants have brought days of howling wind and rain.

Austin-area shelters have been taking in lots of animals, both local strays and temporary fosters for families who had to evacuate the Gulf Coast. The storms have proved hazardous to urban wildlife as well.

More than 70 baby squirrels were turned into Austin Wildlife Rescue on Saturday and Sunday, according to Executive Director Hayley Hudnall. The organization, at 5401 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., near U.S. 183 in East Austin, has taken in dozens of doves, rabbits and other wildlife since Harvey arrived.

Hudnall says that it’s the birthing season for squirrels, and many of them fall out of trees in high winds and heavy rain. If you find squirrels or other wildlife that are injured in the storms, Hudnall says, you can call 512-472-9453 to arrange to take the injured animals to the facility.

WATCH: Good boy: Dog carrying bag of food in Harvey goes viral

Although many storm shelters allow dogs to stay with their families, some evacuees are looking for places to house animals temporarily.

Austinites who wanted to help foster dogs over the weekend showed up in droves at Austin Pets Alive, where there was a two-hour wait at one point Friday. The group’s shelter, at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St. in downtown Austin, had taken in so many animals that it was full.

The Austin Animal Center, at 7201 Levander Loop in East Austin, has taken in about 54 pets from coastal evacuees who are sheltering in the Delco and Burger centers. Its biggest need right now is for people who are open to fostering and adopting animals. The city shelter also needs towels, newspaper and bedding for the many animals in its care right now. You can drop off donations and inquire about fostering and adopting from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

The shelter is encouraging people to call 311 if they find a stray in their neighborhood, but rather than taking the animal to the shelter, the Austin Animal Center asks that residents file a found report and then foster the dog for three to five days. Officials say keeping the dog or cat in its neighborhood makes it more likely that the animal will be reunited with its owner.

The Austin Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane, took in nearly 40 cats and kittens from the Beaumont Animal Shelter on Saturday, in addition to more than 60 dogs and cats from shelters along the coast. The shelter is open from noon-5 p.m. on Sundays for receiving and adopting animals.

In Kyle, PAWS Shelter of Central Texas faced flooding risks of its own and decided to foster out all of its animals in anticipation of flooding similar to what the shelter experienced in October 2015.

MORE: Harvey evacuee in Austin shelter: ‘Everyone’s been so helpful here.’

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