Animals find refuge from Tri-county wildfire


Places like the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead have become temporary homes for evacuees and their animals.

Rick Welch evacuated his Waller County home three days ago, but he isn't sleeping in a shelter. He's sleeping in his truck at the Waller County Fairgrounds.

"I've been here since Wednesday afternoon," he said.

Welch says it's the best place for him and his five thoroughbred horses.

The fairgrounds have become a haven for evacuees to bring their livestock and small pets while they wait for word on when they can return home.

Clint Sciba, vice president of the fair board, says they've accepted countless donations, collecting everything from feed to dog food to bales of hay.

The animals have even been seen by a veterinarian and animal control, and all seem to be adapting just fine.

With the uncertainty of how long they'll be out of their homes, Welch helps other owners keep an eye on other people's livestock and pets. He says he gets the same for his horses in return.

"But, if anything, they're getting more attention here," he said.

Officials at the fairgrounds are not taking in any more animals. In fact, because the Waller County Fair is in just a couple weeks, they're hoping to get everything here moved out to the Old Hockley Auction Barn next week.

If you are needing to evacuate animals or would like to donate feed or animal supplies, you can go to the Old Hockley Auction Barn, 36296 Business 290E in Hockley. Additionally, the animal shelter location for stray animals only is the Baker Vet Clinic, 21002 Briarmeadow Dr. in Prairie View. If you had to evacuate and need your animals fed, you can contact Baker Vet Clinic as well to seek assistance.

For more information on volunteering, donating and finding a shelter for your pets or livestock, visit our Tri-county wildfire main page or click on How to help wildfire victims.

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