Local animal rescue group heads to Houston

A Pewaukee-based rescue group is headed to Houston to search for animals left behind in the flood waters. 

"It's where I feel like I make the most difference," said Caryn Buege of Operation Bring Animals Home Search & Rescue Team.

Buege, a retired police officer and Pewaukee mom, formed Operation Bring Animals Home Search & Rescue Team during Hurricane Katrina.  She said rescuing animals from a disaster is an adrenaline rush.

"Everything from boa constrictors, to horses and cattle," Buege said.

Many shelters are in trouble.

"The shelters down there are so overwhelmed with standing water and they have completely euthanized many of the shelters already," she said. "They don't have the capabilities to take animals in."

About 10 volunteers from Wisconsin will need boats in areas most recently flooded.

"There are many groups out there that are doing human search and rescue, but the animals are left behind cause they don't know how to deal with them," Buege said.

People have contacted the group for help.

"We're just going to try to get to some of the addresses that we have where animals were left behind," she said. 

Everyone on the team is an animal lover, but they also bring a special skill set to the group.

"Our team is comprised of emergency personnel so we are police, firefighters, military, ex-military, veterinarians, vet techs," she said.

The animals are usually relieved when volunteers arrive, but there are challenges.

"Within the first week after the storm they're generally excited to see somebody.  If they've been treading water for a long time or stuck in a tree or something along those lines they are going to be a little bit fearful," said Buege.

She said there's a big stray population in Houston so that might be tricky.

"When you have some of those dogs who potentially are feral they may not be quite as happy to see us."

The group's goal is to rescue animals and reunite them with their families.  They have a chip reader to help with the process.  If the group can't find the owners and Animal Control can't take them in they will bring animals back to southeast Wisconsin and ask for people to foster.  

The group will also use social media to reunite pets and families.  If you're interested in fostering or adopting email the group at Obahrescue2017@gmail.com.


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