Team safely home after extended deployment in Houston

Los Angeles, CA – Friday afternoon, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) returned to Los Angeles following an extended deployment in Houston, TX providing Hurricane Harvey relief.

Originally slated to return to Los Angeles on September 9th, spcaLA’s team remained deployed at the request of officials on the ground. “The Houston SPCA requested spcaLA help through the final push that will allow them to return to ‘normal’ operating procedures,” said spcaLA Humane Officer and DART leader, Cpl. Gary Wilson.

“Just like we did following other major operations, we will take what we’ve learned in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and use it to better serve animals and people in our communities,” Wilson continued.

While in Houston, the spcaLA team cared for hundreds of animals and assisted Houston SPCA with investigations, animal care, transport, and distribution of pet foods and supplies. In one operation on September 8th, spcaLA joined forces with Houston SPCA, Michigan Humane, and Humane Society for Missouri to rescue 106 dogs and cats from a property in Cleveland, TX that had been flooded by Hurricane Harvey.

“In the wake of something like Harvey, you need strong, professional, local leadership on the ground, assessing need and distributing or acquiring assets of people and supplies,” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein. “The Houston SPCA continues the difficult work of rescuing, caring for, and coordinating the reunification of thousands of animals, aided by credible animal welfare organizations from across the country. spcaLA was happy to lend our experience and expertise to authorities in Houston.”

spcaLA deployed to Houston on Saturday, September 2nd and returned to Los Angeles on Friday, September 15th. After a weekend of much-need R&R, the spcaLA team will debrief and return to their regular duties in Southern California, including animal cruelty investigations, humane education, animal training, and the care of spcaLA shelter pets.

“We are so thankful to spcaLA donors,” said Bernstein. “It is their support that provides the vehicles, equipment, supplies, training, and staffing necessary to maintain spcaLA’s elite response team.”

To donate to spcaLA’s disaster response efforts, please click here. Photos, B-roll available upon request.