Animal center, Southwest team to bring pets orphaned by Harvey to San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Four members from the Helen Woodward Animal Center are heading to Texas to assist in animal relief efforts following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey.

The staff members left Thursday for the Lone Star Convention Center in Conroe, Texas, where they will meet with the rescue organization Operation Pets Alive, a non-profit organization working to reduce killing in shelters.

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In Houston, hundreds of orphan dogs and cats have been pulled from the damaged shelters and need a new place to stay while they wait for their forever home, according to the animal center. 

"You look at all of those faces and know that their stay at the shelter was meant to be temporary,” Jennifer Shorey, Helen Woodward's director of operations, said. "It was supposed to lead them to forever homes. But when something as devastating as a hurricane hits, so much has to be left behind. People lose their homes, their possessions, and just focus on survival. And those orphan pets are left behind too."

RELATED: Animal shelter pets evacuated to San Diego due to Hurricane Harvey

Southwest Airlines has also teamed with the animal center to donate a plane and crew to help the animal center bring about 80 orphaned dogs and cats back to San Diego.

"We’re so happy to partner with the Helen Woodward Animal Center to extend hope to Houston by transporting shelter animals to a new home in San Diego while making additional space for family pets whose humans are currently displaced," Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airline Chief Communications Officer, said.

RELATED: San Diego Coast Guard heads to Texas in response to Hurricane Harvey

Helen Woodward is also donating $5,000 to Operation Pets Alive to help with their continued animal rescue efforts. The center said anyone who would also like to donate can so online here.

To help Helen Woodward out with their journey, the center asks the public to donate towels and blankets for use when orphaned pets arrive in San Diego on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

In 2012, Helen Woodward took in 60 orphaned dogs and cats from New Jersey stranded by Hurricane Sandy flood waters. The center also provided similar aid in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina.

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