The Missouri River Flood is devastating people and animals in the area surrounding the shelter. Animals are pouring in as families evacuate their homes, knowing that it may be months before they can return. Many Hamburg, Iowa residents evacuated early as water crept closer, knowing that levees were not likely to hold. HUA staff and volunteers went to Hamburg offering to take in animals who had nowhere to go. They were immediately taken up on the offer returning with a van load of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. They left information with the sheriff on how to get in touch if animals were found abandoned. Reports were coming into HUA that some animals had been locked in homes or tied to dog houses as the water crept closer. Volunteers continued to go out and search returning each day with animals in desperate need. Finally in a catastrophic event that happened in seconds the main levee broke open and water was no longer seeping, it gushed in full force toward the town of Hamburg. The remaining people who were holding out hope that all would be okay headed straight for Hearts United for Animals to leave their animals in the care of loving staff and volunteers while they sought shelter as their houses were destroyed. The families who have left their animals for safe care were so thankful that the HUA volunteers and staff came to them with this generous offer to house their pets at no charge until they can be reunited. Many family members, having never even been separated from their pets overnight, wept with sadness as they said good-bye, but the tears were also very much of gratitude that they were safe in the wonderful care of HUA. HUA will provide housing, food and all necessary medical care for the animals until their families can come for them.
Parts of Nebraska City and other surrounding communities have been and will continue to be effected. We anticipate a huge overload of animals from the flood to last all summer and into the fall. Interstate 29 is already closed to the south of Nebraska City and north of Omaha. More closing are anticipated, including Highway 75 through Plattsmouth, cutting off both main routes to Omaha where the HUA animals typically go for emergency care. The creek on the HUA property is connected to the Missouri River, but most buildings are on high ground. A plan is in place to move animals quickly and alternate routes are mapped in case of emergency medical needs.
During the week that the animals from the flood began to arrive, HUA rescued 21 dogs from a neglect case and 22 dogs from a puppy mill for a total of over 60 animals in one week. It is a major drain on the financial resources, but we know our contributors will come to the aid of the animals. There was no way we could say no to a single one of these animals who had nowhere else to turn. It is shaping up to be one of the toughest summers in the history of the shelter. In addition to the food, medical care and housing costs, caregiving staff has been added to help make sure all of the animals are comfortable, clean, loved and well cared for. We are asking that you please contribute to help the animals who so desperately need you now.