Animals needing shelter from the storm

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - While residents and evacuees are bracing for Hurricane Ike, there are some four legged friends who also need shelter from the storm.

"The state mandated after Katrina, for Rita.  The governor said all people will be allowed to bring their pets. They didn't want them to stay home and understandably because they are family too and they would rather stay home than leave them behind.  We welcome their pets," says Rhonda McLendon, the City of Lufkin's Animal Shelter Director.

She says they have been taking in pets since Thursday and are getting close to their maximum capacity, which is about 400 if you count all the birds and Tiffany the chicken in the director's office.

"Our number can fluctuate because of that. If we have a lot of people with 2-3 dogs that can be caged together, we'll do that and we can house more," says McLendon.

Evacuees from Crystal Beach, near Galveston, say they find comfort in knowing their animals are taken care of.

"We brought them over here to keep them safe and make sure they are well looked after while we are in the shelter ourselves," says John Macrunnel.

"This is a very nice place. The ladies were very nice with our animals.  I hope it turns out okay for all of us.  Oh, my nerves," says Pamela Dufresne.

And for those who do bring their pets, McLendon encourages them to come visit.

"When they register at the shelter hub, we give them a map to the animal shelter.  We welcome them to come visit their pets and walk them. They can leave with them, take them into town and shop too," says McLendon.

Because of all the animals they are housing, the shelter is in need of donations like newspapers, food and cat litter.

The shelter is open from 10am-4pm for visitors.

Any large animals that come into town are also welcome.  The Expo Center is taking horses so that they have a place to stay during the storm.