There are still over 100 dogs without food, shelter, or any way out. Tall Tails Rescue’s shelter was suddenly flooded when a dam was opened without notice in Hankamer, Texas, leaving them scrambling to find a way to save all their animals.
Note: The latest updates are posted at the end of this article.
Kat Tschirgi Miller awoke on Monday August 28, 2017 to find the kennels at her animal shelter flooded with over a foot of water overnight. Dogs were trying to escape the water, climbing the kennel fences or perching on floating crates.
When she learned that authorities were planning to open the dams further, she and her husband Kevin, knew the clock was ticking to get the hundred plus animals at the home to safety.
Every animal at the shelter was trapped and the waters were rising.
Kat explains that no one in the neighborhood was given any advanced warning, so no one was prepared. Their friends at Dallas DDR clarified for everyone that that Tall Tails Rescue was NOT in a danger zone or mandatory evacuation area. “She [Kat] was actually taking evacuees dogs [from Houston and other areas]. She woke up to all this water after they opened 3 dams.”
Kat and Kevin refused to leave their dogs and immediately put out a 911 for help, writing:
“We are in serious need of help! They opened the dam north of us and we got over a foot of water overnight…and it’s still rising! They’re going to release more water from upstream and more rain is on the horizon. We’ve got to go and we’ve got to go now! We won’t leave the dogs so need help getting them out by boat. We need temporary places for them to stay as well… We’re still having trouble wrapping our heads around this and really aren’t sure where to begin. Can anyone get to us with a boat and a trailer so we can make several trips back and forth with dogs in crates?”
Video of Kat and Kevin walking through the shelter shows just how desperate the situation was.
Their plea quickly spread in social media but time was running out to get the animals to safety.
Several neighbors with boats came and began ferrying the dogs to safety. Among the rescuers was the Chambers County Sheriffs Office and their airboat.
Some 100 dogs were ferried to a nearby park, but there were still 40 plus dogs, cats and pigs left inside the house when it got dark and authorities refused to let anyone go back out of safety concerns.
Their friends at Dallas Dog RRR was receiving updates from Kat and wrote how desperate the situation was for the animals left behind as the events were unfolding in real-time:
“Boats arrived and then turned around once they heard they were saving cats and dogs! Their lives matter too! Our Rescue Partners in Houston have never EVER turned their back on any animals in need and today they have been disgraced when the boats turned around and refused to help all of the animals in the Medical boarding compound. Any time we have ever called Kat to get a dog from the euth list or on the streets, she has ALWAYS gone within 5 minutes.”
Kat, Kevin and the volunteer rescuers were able to save 100 dogs from the compound and get them on a field in crates. They were forcibly removed from the property by emergency crews when they deemed it too unsafe to rescue any more.
Dallas Dog RRR put out a desperate plea to help save the dogs stuck inside, “These dogs will not survive unless we get the word out now…Emergency personnel is threatening to turn every dog loose. This is it. We need boats to get to Kat’s now! Break down the damn door, break the windows, ram through the gates and help save lives PLEASE. We are offering a $3,000 reward if you can get the dogs out PLEASE HELP. These dogs will be dead in the next few hours.”
Among the dogs inside is Mcbeth, one of Dallas Dog RRR’s rescues. “We can’t imagine what the are enduring and when think of my girl Kat, I think of her in this picture holding our Mcbeth who they are trying to get out,” the rescue wrote. “Kat is one of the greatest forces in rescue and she and the dogs need us now….Please pray for Kat, Kevin, the dogs, our transporter.”
Later on Monday evening, Kevin updated everyone as to the situation at the home and with the animals left behind. He went back when it was very late and conditions were very unsafe as water levels were still rising.
“Just left the home. There were 40 dogs and 10 pigs,” he wrote. “We did what we could and got as many as we could. PLEASE don’t bash anyone for not going back to get the rest. There’s no way and it’s life threatening conditions. We released all the animals we had to leave behind in hopes they will find high ground. My heart is heavy, but a promise we did everything we could.”
The impact of what has happened is only now sinking in. “Kat & Kevin are alive,” wrote Dallas Dog RRR. “They have lost everything and only have the clothes on their backs – they took no personal belongings and their rescue vehicle is gone.” The dogs are at the park with little shelter, no supplies and everyone is soaking wet.”
As of Tuesday morning Kat updated everyone, saying:
“My battery is at 12 percent. Hopefully someone bringing a charger. I really don’t know what today is going to bring. I feel there will be worse heartache than i have ever known. It has poured all night not letting up at all. We are still hoping there will be a way to get remaining dogs from our home but I am seeing people all around us to Winnie and Baytown who have flooded overnight. They are scared. Some are stranded. I truly do not know if our dogs left behind made it through the night. I do know we have dogs here crammed in crates and who need out for potty time and clean crates.”
“Dogs and pigs still remain at the property and another dam may be released this morning. More boats were to go back out this morning…but conditions are pretty wild right now.”
“We have very few people who have actually been able to get to us to help,” she further explained. “I am told we may have transport trucks coming to get these dogs out but I truly don’t know how they will get here. I’m just praying something gives. This is like something I could never imagine and it truly feels I am in a nightmare.”
Kat, Kevin and the dogs are currently at White Parks Pavilion off I-10 exit 61 Anahuac, TX. This is where help is needed first. If you are in the area and able to help they need:
dog bowls, leashes, collars, cleaning supplies, blankets, large sized crates, water, warm clothing for adults and phone chargers. They also need help to walk dogs and transport them to safety.
There are some boats going to check to see if there are survivors at the shelter this morning (Tuesday).
Update: Aug 29, Evening time
Kat’s prayers were answered and Transport arrived today to help evacuate the dogs from the park pavilion. Kay, the official transporter with Dallas DogRRR, arrived after a 20 hour drive during which “she met every road block and worst weather condition known to man.” But she will be transporting the dogs to rescues that can look after them.
Kat posted her reaction through a friend’s Facebook page writing: “Praise the Lord DRRR has made it! I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved and cried so hard to see my best friend’s face. Thank you everyone who made this possible.”
Then came more happy news.
Kevin went to the house with the Chambers County Sheriffs Office to rescue the remaining animals and they were SUCCESSFUL.
“We got all the dogs out of our home!!! The sheriff came out with air boats. ALL cats and But around 25 dogs just left with Kay who is driving them to…Dallas Dogs RRR facility and also Austin Pets Alive will eventually take some of the pups and kitties. Sadly one of our dogs is being rushed to the vet in Dallas as she sustained substantial injuries during the night when the people helping felt it was best to let all the dogs out of their crates together inside the house.
The remaining dogs will be picked up and going to another great rescue tomorrow. After only 2 hours sleep over 36 hours Kat says she will be trying to get some rest.
“I am just sitting down to really catch my breathe and I can’t tell you how many times Kevin and I both broke down,” writes Kat. “All I can say is my prayers were answered! All I wished is for every animal to be safe and it truly happened.”
“Kat is one of the most True Grit, compassionate and efficient rescuers I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Kat is responsible for saving thousands of dogs through out the years,” writes NYC Second Chance Rescue. “We need to come together and make sure that Operation Save Tall Tails Animal Rescue will keep going.”
Their friends at NYC Second Chance Rescue and Dallas Dogs DRR are also extending help taking in monetary donations and to coordinate anyone that would like to foster or adopt a Harvey relief dog. If you live within 4 hours of NCY, please fill out an application at: nycsecondchancerescue.org. If you are within 3 hours of Dallas, Ft Worth fill the app at one of the branch partners of DallasDogrrr.org.