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Park City man helps rescue Texas pets after hurricane
By Taylor Messick
Last Updated: September 07, 2017

There is a lot left that still needs putting back together in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The recovery effort has drawn people from all over to Texas to offer a helping hand.

That's why Park City resident Steve Brown decided to spend his Labor Day weekend rescuing pets whose homes were taken by the storm. He travelled with a group of Kansas pet rescue programs and estimated that he took over 5,000 pounds of animal food in his truck alone.

“It all started when I found out a group of people I know was heading down to Texas to take animal supplies," said Brown. “I've been following the story, so I offered to bring my pickup and trailer and I ended up going with them. We took about seven vehicles."

The group returned to Kansas with 66 pets (mostly dogs). Those animals were checked for microchips and medical conditions before they were released to the rescue teams. Brown said local shelters, rescues and foster homes currently have a large number of the rescued pets.

“It's important that everybody reach out to these poor rescues if they're looking for a dog," said Brown. “They nick-named me ‘the rescue failure' because I adopted one of the dogs we brought back. This is one of the best dogs I've ever had. He's a 70-pound labrador retriever. This dog follows me around everywhere and acts like I'm king of the world because of everything he's been through. He's a very cool dog and that made the whole trip worthwhile for me."

Brown said the experience got real when the group travelled into areas that were hit hardest. He got to see firsthand the devastation victims are dealing with.

“We made it all the way down to Port Arthur," he said. “We went through Beaumont and they had no running water or electricity. I saw several people dragging stuff out of their houses to the curb. Some of them were putting it in a pile in their yard and lighting it all on fire because it was all ruined."

He also said the gathering location for the lost pets was an unbelievable scene. Many pets that were microchipped were able to be easily reunited with their owners, but the massive number of displaced pets is nearly unfathomable.

“There was a fairground where they were just centralizing all the different animals," he said. “They were bringing them together so people wouldn't have to go to 30 or 40 shelters to find their pets. Every time I went, there were more and more crates. It got to the point where National Geographic came out and filmed it. It was crazy; I've never seen so many lost animals in one place. It was bizarre."

Brown said despite the tragedy, he didn't see anyone looting or fighting, just people working together and helping in any way possible. He said that he wouldn't hesitate to help others again if the situation should arise.

“Hopefully there will never be another opportunity," he said. “But if there was, I would help again in a heartbeat. I'm not speaking just for me; there were about three other people from Park City who participated and then all the rescue groups. We also had people back here helping us look for supplies and homes. I would volunteer to step up and do it again if there was a need. I know they would too."

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