As City of West Recovers, the Search for Lost Pets Begins
The chaos created by the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, has left many of the town’s pets displaced and injured.
According to one Facebook post, a toy Chihuahua named Pedro escaped through a damaged, exposed area of his owner’s home after the blast. And Pedro’s story is common in West.
Texas A & M Veterinary Emergency Team is on the scene in West, checking animals for injuries before sending them to the humane society. Spokesperson Angela Clendenin says they have seen nearly 50 animals today, including one dog with a fractured leg and one with abdominal problems.
The team also provides vet care for Texas Task Force 1 service dogs, who may be injured while searching through explosion rubble.
Animal rescue centers in the area are working to reunite owners and their pets. Happy Endings Dog Rescue and the Humane Society of Central Texas in Waco had mobile stations set up in West, as workers searched for injured and missing pets. Rescue centers are posting photos of pets on Facebook and other social media sites to reunite them with their owners.
Today, animal control is allowed to go into the previously blocked off zones and collect animals to take to area shelters after a veterinary examination.
"We had our first eight delivered here a few minutes ago. Twenty more are on their way, and we're going back to get another load," said Don Bland of the Humane Society of Central Texas.
To make kennel space for West pets, Bland asked animal rescue organizations around the state to take dogs that were already at the Human Society. Nearly 70 animals were moved from Waco on Thursday.
It's not the first time VET has been dispatched to disaster zones. During the Bastrop wildfires, the Texas A A&M team treated over 260 animals. They provide care during hurricanes, tornados and other disasters.