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Nearly 100 dogs and cats are up for adoption in Austin after fleeing Hurricane Beryl

A small puppy with bright blue eyes and a mainly black coat looks up at the camera.
Austin Humane Society
Nearly 100 cats and dogs were relocated to the Austin Humane Society from the coast as a precaution before then-Hurricane Beryl made landfall.

The Austin Humane Society took in 94 dogs and cats from a coastal shelter that was projected to be in the path of then-Hurricane Beryl. Many of those animals are already up for adoption.

Charlotte O’Banion, shelter manager for the Austin Humane Society, said staff and volunteers relocated most of the 70 animals they were housing to temporary foster homes. This helped create space for the influx of animals from The Gulf Coast Humane Society in Corpus Christi.

“We have partners on the coast that were definitely in need as it was kind of unsure where the storm was heading,” O'Banion said.

A blonde and brown tabby cat sits on a fleece cat bed looking away from the camera.
Austin Humane Society
The Austin Humane Society is running a special until Sunday with $25 adoption fees for all adult animals.

Alisa Mills, executive director of The Gulf Coast Humane Society, said of the roughly 290 animals they were housing, 94 went to the shelter in Austin. Mills said there is an understanding that the Austin Humane Society will help the coastal shelter if needed. In the six years since the agreement has been in place, she said this is the first time they have had to reach out for help. But it wasn’t because the shelter itself was in danger.
“We’re a Category 3 shelter,“ Mills said. “So, we can stay here for up to a Category 3 [hurricane] and shelter in place.”

Category 3 hurricanes can have wind speeds up to 129 miles per hour. At the time, Hurricane Beryl was expected to reach the Texas coast as a Category 1 hurricane with wind speeds within 95 miles per hour.

Mills said they moved some animals to Austin to make space to take in other local animals. For example, if people experiencing homelessness had to go to a shelter for their safety, the coastal animal shelter would be able to house their pets. Additionally, Mills said a local municipality had dogs in outdoor kennels without a building. If needed, The Gulf Coast Humane Society would take in those dogs.

Mills said she appreciated the help from the shelter's Austin counterpart.

“It was amazing to have [The Austin Humane Society] to help us — and so quickly getting everything organized,” Mills said.

A pile of cute puppies sleeping in a crate.
Austin Humane Society
Many of the animals that were transported to Austin from the coast are already available for adoption.

The call for help was made on Friday. By Saturday, O’Banion and another Austin Humane Society employee arrived in Corpus Christi ready to load about 40 cats and kittens into a van. The Gulf Coast Humane Society sent two additional vans with about 54 crated puppies and dogs. By Saturday evening, all the animals were inside the Austin shelter.

“It’s definitely been a busy few days for us,” O’Banion said. “Every single kennel at the shelter is full right now.”

O’Banion said the Austin Humane Society did something similar in 2021 when it took in 65 animals from the Houston SPCA. Those animals had been evacuated from Louisiana in response to Hurricane Ida.

While The Gulf Coast Humane Society is now in the clear of the storm, the 94 four-legged Austin transplants will stay in the Capital city to be adopted. O’Banion said her team is updating the paperwork for each animal. Many of the animals are already available to be adopted, and all adult animals have a $25 adoption fee through Sunday.

“We’re hoping that our Austin community will come and take some pets home — and find new family members,” O’Banion said.

Sangita Menon is a general assignment reporter for KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @sangitamenon.
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