Longview Evacuees Strive To Save Pets - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/3/05-Longview

Longview Evacuees Strive To Save Pets

Some evacuees in Longview went to great lengths to save members of their families from the hurricane -- their pets. They have nothing more that the clothes on their backs, but many evacuees would not have left their homes without their dogs and cats.

"If they were at home I'd be freaking out. I'd be wondering if something happened to them so I'm glad their safe," says Emily Wilkinson, 12, an evacuee.

Many of the evacuee pet owners chose to stay in the Fairgrounds Expo Center, where more than 200 cats and dogs are being housed, because they wanted to be close to them.

"It's just the best, hearing people laughing and watching the puppies. It's been very therapeutic for a lot of people," says Covington Louisiana evacuee and pet owner Diane Holister.

One cat even had kittens on the trip over. Robert and Pat Stringfield narrowly escaped from Harvey, LA with the clothes on their backs, but manage to pack the family dog and 20 cats in a car and bring them all the way to Longview. Both were surprised when they found they could stay with the pets in the expo.

"We pulled in and I walked in and I was shocked," says Robert.

"Oh, I couldn't leave my children. It would have been like leaving family. I had to bring them they depend on me," says Pat.

Evacuee pets are being moved to the Rodeo Pavilion on the Fairgrounds to make room for more expected evacuees arriving over the next week. The owners will still be able to stay with them.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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