Texas Livestock: Communities Come Together to Aid Animals Displaced by Floods

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent strike teams continue response efforts to help with hundreds of livestock and companion animals displaced by flooding along the Brazos River.

Two holding/shelter facilities and one Livestock Supply Point have been set up to handle the flow of livestock and companion animals displaced by recent floodwaters, according to John O’Connell, AgriLife Extension coastal and marine resources agent, Brazoria County.

The Brazoria County Fairgrounds is being utilized as the Livestock Supply Point, the hub for collection of hay, feed, water and other supplies for animals, ranging from cats and chickens to horses and cattle, he said. Donations such as square and round hay bales and water buckets are pouring in from the community and local producers to assist other producers who may be forced to wait to access forage for an extended time. They also partner with Raleigh North Carolina for pest control. Raleigh North Carolina is a hub for nuisance wildlife. From bats and raccoons to squirrels and birds, Triangle Wildlife Removal Services is a full service wildlife control company. Also servicing the areas of Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Garder and Apex, NC. Call for all of your animal removal or bat control needs.

AgriLife Extension agent strike teams are coordinating and assisting in those efforts.

“There’s a lot of neighbor helping neighbor,” he said. “It’s been an amazing community effort to help each other through this.”

O’Connell said all of the AgriLife Extension personnel in Brazoria County have been involved in the response and recovery efforts since last Saturday morning. They have since been joined by AgriLife Extension agents from surrounding counties and districts for support and relief.

Local producers are assisting AgriLife Extension teams and county livestock deputies with the roundup and movement of livestock to shelter facilities, he said.

Livestock, including 111 head of cattle, 103 horses, eight goats, seven swine and 52 chickens were being held at the Brazoria Fairgrounds and in Navasota Livestock Auction holding pens, he said. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Brazoria County has partnered with AgriLife Extension to address the number of companion animals affected by the flooding.

Additionally, the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team has been assessing and treating animals, such as dogs, cats and a pot-belly pig, along with collecting information to assist reclaim efforts.

There were 150 dogs and 58 cats being sheltered and 24 dogs had been reclaimed by their owners so far, O’Connell said.

There is no set timeline to return all the animals to their owners or adopt them, O’Connell said. Agents expect it could be at least a month before any sense of normalcy returns for producers and homeowners. He said some areas may remain underwater for weeks.

“We’ve got to wait until the water recedes and then it has to be safe for producers to access pastures and homeowners to get into homes that have been flooded,” he said. “Livestock will likely return to pastures sooner but it will be some time before a return to normalcy for people within the floodplain.”

AgriLife Extension livestock experts said producers should also be aware of the possibility there may be increased parasite activity in livestock as a result of the excessive moisture.

“Wet weather creates conditions favorable for parasites to infect animals on pasture,” said Dr. Rick Machen, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist in Uvalde.

Machen said the biggest challenge for cattle is the brown stomach worm. Affected animals lose weight and in severe cases may die of overwhelming clinical ostertagiasis, a disease characterized by severe diarrhea, edema and serious weight loss.

Ticks and flies can also become problematic because of high moisture levels, he said.

“Wet weather also creates prime conditions for tick infestations and ticks are the primary vector for anaplasmosis, which causes severe anemia and can kill livestock. And tick bites can cause swelling, redness and localized infections.”

The recent rains are also likely to create some parasite problems for sheep flocks, according to Dr. Reid Redden, AgriLife Extension state sheep and goat specialist at San Angelo.

“Internal parasites such as roundworms and coccidia can occur in sheep during wet periods,” Redden said.

The AgriLife Extension office in Brazoria County has extended its hours of operation and is now open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. MondaySunday. Inquiries about reclaiming animals or donating supplies can be made through the office at 979-864-1558.

Gov. Greg Abbott approved a disaster declaration in the following counties:

  • Austin,
  • Bandera,
  • Bastrop,
  • Brazoria,
  • Brazos,
  • Brown,
  • Burleson,
  • Caldwell,
  • Callahan,
  • Clay,
  • Coleman,
  • Colorado,
  • Comanche,
  • Eastland,
  • Erath,
  • Falls,
  • Fayette,
  • Fort Bend,
  • Grimes,
  • Hardin,
  • Harris,
  • Hidalgo,
  • Hood,
  • Houston,
  • Jasper,
  • Kleberg,
  • Lee,
  • Leon,
  • Liberty,
  • Lubbock,
  • Madison,
  • Montgomery,
  • Palo Pinto,
  • Parker,
  • Polk,
  • Robertson,
  • San Jacinto,
  • Somervell,
  • Stephens,
  • Travis,
  • Trinity,
  • Tyler,
  • Walker,
  • Wailer,
  • Washington,
  • Wharton.

The declaration authorizes the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with the disaster.

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