Moments after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August, a collaborative effort of manufacturers, distributors, pet stores, veterinary hospitals and industry associations and organizations joined forces to provide aid and supplies to displaced pets in the affected areas of Texas.
In this time of turmoil, several pet industry leaders were not only making major contributions to Harvey victims, they also voiced their support for the outpouring of support they were witnessing.
Steve King, president of PIDA: “The devastating floods in the greater Houston area have been top of mind for most of us since Hurricane Harvey made landfall last weekend. PIDA has been part of a group organized by the Pet Leadership Council that is working with local authorities to coordinate the pet industry’s response to the needs of pets and pet owners impacted.”
Jackson Galaxy, founder of Jackson Galaxy Foundation: “We have been working with partners and colleagues all over the country to ensure the animals impacted by Harvey have what they need. I am proud my good friends at Petmate jumped right in and are sending supplies to be distributed to animals displaced and in need. They are supplying not just needed carriers and litter boxes, but are also sending comfort bedding to make these animals feel better. When people and animals are in trouble, the best of humanity comes out.”
Miranda Lambert, founder of MuttNation Foundation: “My foundation, MuttNation Foundation, was invited by the Humane Society of the United States to help provide relief for animals in need. With the help of our team and volunteers, we set out on a three-day mission. Our goal was to transport animals from shelters that were already full before the hurricane to make room for animals displaced during the hurricane. These animals need to stay close to their families so they can be found again. On day one, we rescued 72 dogs from Harris County Shelter. On day two, 62 dogs from Houston Humane Society. On day three, we sent two rigs: one to Baytown animal control facility, where we were able to get 21 dogs; and the other rig returned to Houston Humane Society, where we were able to get 40 dogs and 38 cats. We transported all of our animals to our facilities in Oklahoma where they will then be transported across the United States with our partner shelters to find their forever homes. A huge thank you to all of our MuttNation friends, fans and partners for all the support.”
Susanne Kogut, executive director of Petco Foundation: “The impact of this devastation is beyond anything that we could have imagined. Today’s focus is on doing everything we can to help save animal lives, and our efforts in the months ahead will be to support the recovery and rebuilding efforts. After the Baton Rouge flooding just about a year ago, we provided more than $500,000 of support. We know the Harvey recovery will require millions based on the massive scope of organizations and animals impacted by this storm and we’re committed to doing all we can over the long haul.”
Alice Tillett, CEO of Petmate: “With our roots here in Dallas, Texas, we are particularly committed to helping our neighbors, both two-legged and four-legged, to the south. This situation goes to the very heart of who we are as a company and the pet families we serve. We are coordinating an all-out, company-wide effort to provide much needed supplies to shelters and rescue organizations in the Dallas/Forth Worth area. We are in direct contact with the Humane Society of North Texas, SPCA of Texas and Rescue Bank Dallas, to aid in their efforts at housing thousands of displaced pets. We will continue to provide support in any way we can throughout this difficult time.”
Bob Vetere, president of APPA and chairperson of PLC: “The Pet Leadership Council (PLC) was founded just under three years ago, for this very reason: so that we, as a united industry, can work together on issues that affect the health and well-being of companion animals in our country. Each and every one of the Pet Leadership Council members, as well as others in the pet community, are making Houston and surrounding affected areas a priority, and we’re aligning all of our efforts to ensure that we’re all doing so in the most efficient manner.”
Below is a rundown of how some members of the pet industry have been providing assistance in Houston and surrounding areas, as of press time:
American Kennel Club (AKC): AKC Reunite, an American Kennel Club affiliate, has deployed its disaster relief trailers to help evacuees from the store. A challenge grant from its Greater St. Louis Training Club delegates are matching donations to its disaster relief fund up to $10,000 to support relief efforts. The AKC Humane Fund also donated $10,000 through its “Sandy Fund,” to the city of Houston to aid in relief efforts.
American Humane Association: The group is leading deployments in the disaster area and providing rescue rigs, rescue staff and trained first responder volunteers.
American Pet Products Association: The organization is coordinating efforts with more than 1,200 pet product manufacturers to solicit donations and supplies and assist in animal care efforts.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): The group is providing reimbursement grants for veterinarians volunteering to assist, and its board of directors unanimously voted to contribute $100,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Banfield Foundation: The Banfield Pet Hospital is in communication with its partners Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team, which has been deployed on site to assess the veterinary needs of impacted pets.
Champion Petfoods: The pet food manufacturer worked with its distributor partner Bark to Basics to donate thousands of pounds of ORIJEN and ACANA dog and cat food. The food is ready for pickup through select pet specialty retailers, free of charge to pet lovers impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Ethical Products: The company has earmarked truckloads of dog and cat beds to assist animal welfare agencies that are rescuing and caring for pets left homeless due to the storm and flooding.
Central Garden and Pet: The manufacturer announced it will provide dog, cat, reptile, equine and small animal supplies when they are needed.
Mars Petcare: It has sponsored canine search and rescue teams from National Disaster Search Dog Foundation and is coordinating with GreaterGood.org’s Rescue Bank program to send more than 40,000 pounds of pet food to the storm-damaged areas.
Pet Food Institute (PFI): Its members are working through their relationships with emergency relief organizations, foundations, partner shelters and retailers to coordinate shipping of supplies and food to Texas.
Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA): The group’s distributors with facilities in Texas have been coordinating distribution efforts.
Pet Supermarket and Pet Valu: The pet specialty retailers have launched a chain-wide donation drive to aid families and pets affected by this disaster. They have donated $100,000 in pet food and products, plus will be accepting donations to support the Houston SPCA and other local shelters between now and the end of September.
Petco Foundation: The nonprofit corporation has committed $2.3 million with product donations or grant support to nearly 20 organizations affected directly by Harvey or those taking in animals from other locations. The foundation will continue to provide additional resources to support the ongoing response to threats of flooding, and forthcoming recovery efforts. They are also collecting donations from vendors and staging at warehouse locations in Texas.
Petland: The Ohio-based franchise chain donated more than 1,200 pounds of dog food along with crates, canine ear cleaners and prebiotics to the Ross County Humane Society for its trip to Houston. It will also be collecting donations beginning Monday, September 18, benefiting the Houston and Florida Keys Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to support hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief efforts.
Petmate: Based in Arlington, Texas, the company is donating supplies to shelters and rescue organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, like the Humane Society of North Texas, SPCA of Texas and Rescue Bank Dallas, to aid in their efforts at housing thousands of displaced pets. They’ve also provided crates, kennels, leashes, blankets and more to several rescue teams and charity partners, like the MuttNation Foundation and Jackson Galaxy Foundation, which are making trips to Houston and the surrounding areas to transport pets out of the affected areas.
Pets Best: The health insurance provider has added a call-to-action on its website to make it easy for visitors to make a donation. It’s also forwarding visitors to Austin Pets Alive and supporting veterinary clinics in the affected areas.
PetSmart Charities: The retailer has allocated $2 million in emergency relief funding to assist animal welfare agencies working on the front lines to help pets and pet parents impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, the organization is providing truckloads of pet supplies to the affected areas in Texas and is on track to deliver more than 100,000 pounds of donated pet food generated from PetSmart’s Buy A Bag, Give A Meal philanthropic program.
Phillips Pet Food & Supplies: The distributor is offering the use of its Arlington, Texas, facility to store donated pet food and supplies that will be distributed throughout the areas affected by the hurricane. Phillips will utilize its fleet of trucks to transport and facilitate the delivery of requested supplies to relief organizations wherever needed.
Pura Naturals Pet: The manufacturer has donated $20,000 worth of its products and also contacted its retailers and vendors with contacts to the SPCA and Karma Rescue, which is working with Best Friends and Austin Pets Alive. Pura Naturals also secured volunteers and truck transport of animals via Sho-Link, an I&D supplier whose members volunteered their time to assist in the rescue efforts.
Purina: The pet food company made a donation of $25,000 to GreaterGood.org to support people and pets who have been impacted in Houston and the surrounding areas. It is also working with disaster relief partner Rescue Bank to deliver food, litter and FortiFlora, a probiotic supplement that helps reduce the symptoms of stress, to pet shelters in the affected areas.
Solvit: To help in the care and feeding of the displaced animals, the Arlington, Texas-based company has donated over 1,500 pet travel bowls and 400 pet food storage bags to the Houston SPCA.
Spectrum Brands: The company donated batteries, flashlights, insect repellents, pet grooming and care products to assist with recovery efforts.
VCA Animal Hospitals: They are deploying extra antibiotics, medications and food to San Antonio and Dallas, Texas, shelters that are taking in thousands of pets, including plane loads of transferred pets in need of shelter and medical attention. VCA doctors and medical teams are working on the ground and VCA Charities is fundraising through its hospitals via the Pennies for Pets program.
WellPet: The company is sending down eight volunteers to Houston to help reconnect found pets with their families and to provide general support. WellPet is also donating 30 pallets of food and treats to various organizations within the impacted areas and donating $10,000 through the WellPet Foundation to be split between American Red Cross and Austin Pets Alive, in addition to matching employee contributions up to $5,000. The company will also reimburse and donate food to any employee who adopts or fosters an animal displaced by the storm.
World Pet Association: The group is coordinating efforts with its members, including manufacturers, retailers and distributors across the country, in order to organize efforts and support immediate and ongoing needs in Texas.
Wondercide: The Austin, Texas-based company has sent its employees to Austin Pets Alive to set up intake facilities for displaced animals. The volunteers have also been sorting supplies, transporting animals and fostering animals at their homes and in the company’s office.