During the recent floods that assaulted Arlington, Texas, many animals, not just pets, were in need of aid. Wild animals, especially their young, were at a high risk of being made orphans due to the storm’s timing. Staff connected to Arlington’s Animal Welfare League (AWLA) confessed that they had saved dozens of animals of all stripes.
Animal Control Chief Jennifer Toussaint admitted that the rescue calls for wildlife came flooding in right as the flood waters started receding. The types of animals rescued ranged from disoriented deer to young birds and squirrels. Toussaint mentioned that the volume of wildlife-related rescue calls remains above the normal amount for three consecutive days. Because of the seasonal timing, more than a few young, unweaned animals became dislodged from their homes.
Notable rescues included a pair of related baby squirrels and a juvenile Cooper’s hawk. AWLA cared for the animals through the night, then handed them off to a wildlife rescue group for rehabilitation. Chelsea Jones, a spokesperson for AWLA, said that wildlife rescues are either re-introduced to the wild or triaged and then passed on to wildlife rehabitation. The recent surge in calls required every able member of AWLA to chip in.
Toussaint was tasked with the Westover community, a region hard-hit by flooding. Part of her job involved checking to see if any pets had been left stranded while their owners were away on business as the storm rolled in. Toussaint mentioned that she had witnessed firemen rescue a woman and the woman’s cat from a flooding basement and offered AWLA’s free boarding service to handle animals during an emergency.
Toussant also mentioned that Westover residents had taken to boarding multiple homes’ pets in order to keep the animals safe and dry, while also sending first responders to investigate the homes of elderly residents.
Jones stated that the aforementioned pet cat was returned to its owner after five days of being boarded at AWLA and that every wild animal AWLA had rescued had been successfully returned to the wild or passed on to a wildlife rehab group.
Toussaint remarked that the kindness shown by the people she has run into during the storm is a true indicator of Arlington’s strength as a community. She shared a story of attending to someone whom had just lost everything and was heartened upon hear a fire captain explain that that person’s needs would be heard.