Horse stranded in S.E. Texas flooding, being escorted to dry ground by rescue volunteers

Hurricane Harvey – Livestock In Crisis, The Rescue – How You Can Help (Part Two)

J. Lee

Hurricane Harvey – Livestock In Crisis

This story is not a commentary or editorial, but a way to feature animals during natural disasters and the urgency to save them. It is to spotlight those who are on the front lines rescuing them. Included in the story are organizations to contact for those who would like to help.

When it comes for natural disasters  many farmers are left scrambling. Livestock is not easy to transport on a moment’s notice. Due to their size and herd numbers most are left behind until rescues effort can be organized. There has been no shortage of rescuers and cowboys that have come to their rescue.

It will be weeks before the toll on livestock will be known. Many thus far have been rescued and hopefully more will be. Those are the lucky ones. No doubt the death count could be great in areas not easy to access or where flood waters were the deepest. Even in the midst of hope dire consequences are inevitable.


It has been estimated there are approximately 1.2 million beef cows grazing in 54 Texas counties. Full size cows stand between 51 – 59 inches. Full size bulls stand between 54 – 62 inches. Dairy cows weigh between 800-1500 pounds. Bulls weigh between 1,700 and 2,300 pounds.

Cattle are large and many herds are numerous. There is no way a rancher has the ability or time to attempt to relocate them in the midst of a raging flood. The farmer needs to focus on evacuation while keeping hope that livestock will remain safe. Cows in open pastures are pretty resourceful at finding higher ground if it can be found.

Rescue groups wasted no time coming to the rescue. Cowboys rounded up cattle by horse and by airboat. Rescuers have meticulously surveyed the area saving livestock as they were discovered. It was like a scene out of a wild west move.

WATCH: Cattle rescued from Harvey flood waters in La Grange

Flood Waters Bring the Old West Back: Texas Cowboys Save 200 Cattle –  In a scene worthy of an old western film, a group of cowboys, along with Texas law enforcement, rescued about 200 cattle on Sunday after they became stranded by flooding in the Trinity River.

When nearly 1,800 acres of dry land dwindled down to 50 as a result of severe flooding in Dayton, a heard of cattle became surrounded by water at the Liberty Bell Ranch with no escape, KPRC reports.

So, law enforcement and the group of cowboys led the animals more than 70 miles, swimming and walking, away from the rising, alligator infested waters, KHOU reports.

Photo #1 Larger cattle herded by airboat to a rail yard Photo #2 Dayton, TX ( Liberty County) Photo #3 Herding on Highway 90



As was with cows, horses are also large. They weigh 800 – 1,200 pounds. Many herds are numerous. There is no way a rancher has the ability or time to attempt to relocate them in the midst of a raging flood.

The height of a horse puts the depth of flooding in perspective. Adult horses stand between 4.7 – 6 feet. The rising water wall nearly as deep as they are tall.

Texas Horse: Horse Population Characteristics

  • Has approximately 979,000 horses, including      
  • 148,100 Thoroughbreds      
  • 453,600 Quarter Horses            
  • 377,100 Other horses (registered and unregistered)

Rescue groups and cowboys came to their rescue. It was like a scene out of a wild west movie.

Harvey Still Displacing Texas Horses – (August 28, 2017) “While Tropical Storm Harvey is leaving much of the Texas Gulf Coast inundated with flood waters, Sam Houston Race Park (SHRP), in Houston, is still accepting horses displaced by the storm.”


Those who would like to help, but are unable to be there can still help fund rescue efforts. Always check the credibility of any organization before sending money or donations. During a crisis there is never a shortage of scam artists. Make sure you heart is reaching out to reliable charities.

You might want to call them first to see what their greatest need is. Those who live in the area can check for volunteer opportunities. Some organizations might need volunteers, some might need food and supplies for their volunteers, others could use donations such as hay and feed and many will need financial donations to be used in their rescue efforts.

Humane Society of North Texas, Fort Worth, TX, (817) 332-4768

Humane Society of Central Texasa, Waco, TX, (254) 754-1454

Humane Society-Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX 77705, (409) 833-0504

The Humane Society of West Texas, Lubbock, TX 79412, (806) 799-7387

Dallas Animal Services, Dallas, TX,  (214) 670-8246

SPCA of Texas, Dallas, TX, (214) 742-7722

The Agriculture Department (donations of hay and animal feed) call 512-463-9360

Texas Animal Health Commission’s Animal Response Operation Coordination Center’s Hurricane Harvey hotline: 512-719-0799

Part 1 – Domestic animal rescues 

Part 3 – Wildlife rescues

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