Waller County working to reunite displaced animals with wildfire evacuees


by Kevin Reece / KHOU 11 News


Posted on September 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 15 at 6:20 PM

WALLER COUNTY, Texas – The wildfires that scorched the Greater Houston area have done more than just displace people – hundreds of animals have also been forced out of their homes.

Many of those animals are staying in a medical tent out in Waller County, which is being used to house an overflow of injured and lost animals.

There were about 30 dogs and cats in that tent Thursday. Some of them were injured in the fire and were picked up roaming free.

Veterinarians and volunteers have been nursing the pets back to health until their owners can come reclaim them.

They’ve also picked up horses, donkeys and other livestock.

Now, their biggest task is reuniting the animals with their families.

"We’re hoping that as the community is getting back into their homes, we’re hoping to see them in the next day or two, picking up their animals and taking them home," Tara Yurkshat of the Houston SPCA said.

Pictures of the animals who survived the fire can be found on Facebook pages set up in Waller County.

Click here and here and here to view them.

One of the vets at the tent told KHOU 11 News they’ve also found a few horses and livestock that didn’t make it out of the fire. They’ve been burying those animals where they fell.

Perhaps the oddest story from the wildfire involves animals, too. Over a dozen monkeys were released by a facility that housed primates as the fire approached. Two of those monkeys were still unaccounted for Thursday, but officials said they could have perished in the blaze.

A third monkey was shot and killed by an animal control officer in Grimes County Wednesday because it reportedly bit someone.

Officials sent the monkey off for rabies testing, and they said they expect to get those test results back sometime Thursday evening.