DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — The Humane Society of the Lakes in Detroit Lakes has opened its doors to dogs from Texas, opening up some room at Texas animal shelters for pets separated from their owners by the Hurricane Harvey disaster that flooded large parts of Houston and other Texas communities.
"They're trying to open up the shelters down there a little bit for hurricane dogs in hopes they will be reclaimed by their homes," said local Humane Society Manager Amber Sund. "Our facility took in seven dogs on Friday. They transported over 100 dogs to be distributed (to animal shelters) in Minnesota."
Other shelters that took in Texas dogs are based in Wadena (which had room for 23 dogs) Fergus Falls, Mankato and Blue Earth.
The Detroit Lakes Humane Society shelter plans to take five to seven more Texas dogs early next month, Sund said. The Texas dogs come from shelters, so they are all current on their vaccination shots, and the local shelter makes sure they are spayed or neutered, which is all included in the $175 adoption fee for dogs.
But most Texas shelters euthanize animals that aren't adopted relatively quickly, so these transports to Minnesota have been going on for about a year now. The Texas shelters will save healthy, adoptable dogs for the Minnesota transports, saving dogs that otherwise would have been put down.
Among the new dogs at the Detroit Lakes shelter are two Chihuahuas and five medium and large breed dogs—Lab, boxer and pointer mixes, Sund said.
"It's probably the seventh or eighth time we've taken dogs from Texas the last few years," Sund said. "We've taken 50 or 60 dogs from them in the last year. There are a large number of high-kill shelters down there. They only have a few weeks in a shelter before they're euthanized there."
The Humane Society of the Lakes can shelter 25 dogs and 25 cats. "We're now up to 22 dogs as of today," including the Texas dogs, Sund said.
There's been no talk of taking Texas cats, since area shelters are already brimming with felines. The DL shelter is full, Sund said. "We're kind of overpopulated on cats right now," she said. The $130 adoption fee for cats also includes full vaccinations and spaying or neutering.
All animals are now spayed or neutered before they go out the shelter door, Sund said. "It's a little bit more control for us to help stop overpopulation."
According to Stacy Miller, volunteer of the Wadena Shelter, they saw an opportunity to do something good when they looked around their shelter and thought about what to do with the empty kennels. They decided to fill the kennels with dogs from shelters where perfectly healthy, adoptable animals are euthanized. So, about a year ago, the shelter formed a partnership with a non profit group in Texas to rescue dogs on euthanizations lists.
"The volunteers in Texas who are pulling dogs from the streets and the shelters, they are the true heroes," Miller said. "We really appreciate what they do."
Reporter Kimberly Brasel contributed to this story