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Mankato Animal Shelter Braces For Hurricane Harvey Pets

MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) -- Floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey are not only leaving families along the Gulf Coast without a home.

The storm has led to pets being lost or left behind.

Shelters and humane societies across the country are preparing house the homeless animals, a mission that's been underway for more than a year in Mankato.

"[Texas] is the number-one state for dogs that are being euthanized. They have the highest population of strays," said Terri Hanson, adoption specialist at Blue Earth Nicollet Humane Society (BENCHS).

She's currently fostering three puppies from Texas that arrived in Minnesota a couple weeks ago.

"It's not uncommon for places in Texas to get 50-100 strays a day," Hanson said.

Rescue Dogs
(credit: CBS)

Because of that problem, BENCHS takes in dozens of Texas dogs to foster each month with hopes of adopting them out -- a mission that's about to tested like never before thanks to Hurricane Harvey.

"Now you have all of the stray population that is at risk and plus people that are displaced that may or may not be able to keep their animals anymore," she said.

Hanson anticipates they will be taking in twice the amount of dogs they normally do in the coming weeks, specifically those that were in Texas shelters well before Harvey arrived.

"The dogs that we know don't have an owner and were abandoned or unclaimed before this happened," Hanson said.

The shelters in Texas will then house the dogs abandoned or lost during the storm, giving the original owners a chance to claim them.

"We want to make sure that we're not taking anyone's pets," Hanson said. "That's why we're focusing on the dogs already homeless."

But if the pets are not claimed, another surge of dogs could soon call Minnesota home.

"I'm assuming that it's going to be a huge and very long crisis, and it's going to take months for us to make a dent," Hanson said.

She added that it's likely they will need more foster homes for the animals, as well as people ready to adopt them.

Click here for more information on BENCHS, or call 507-625-6373.

To stay updated on dogs ready for adoption, visit the BENCHS Facebook page.

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