Houston’s animal lovers and their rescuers may be shaking their heads after news broke of a Chambers County-based animal rescue charity’s apparent lack of responsibility during Hurricane Harvey.
The organizers of Tall Tails Animal Rescue went to a movie in Baytown when Harvey made landfall instead of organizing efforts to relocate more than 100 animals at its facility. They are also accused of appearing to spend more time seeking donations than in finding new homes for lost animals.
The animal facility consists of a small house and a half-acre lot in Hankamer, about 50 miles east of Houston. Operators Kevin Miller and Kat Tschirgi reportedly kept more than 120 dogs and several pigs at the home.
Rescue workers accused the couple of keeping the animals in crates and leaving more than 50 dogs behind as floodwaters rose. According to Miller, the founder of Tall Tails, he had no reason to think Harvey would reach them.
Rescue workers and the Chambers County Sheriff’s deputies led the rescue of nearly all the animals when Miller and Tschirgi sent pleas for help via Facebook and at a rescue pavilion. The deputies rescued more than 30 dogs, but later claimed Miller was more interested in fundraising efforts than rescue work.
Shortly after the rescue and deputies’ encounters with the couple, a post on the sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page read, “Miller appeared to care more about receiving PayPal donations than he did about the dogs or his imperiled neighbors, waiting to be rescued.”
A volunteer rescue worker from Dallas also claimed Miller lied about the number of dogs he had on the property, claiming to have only 20 instead of the actual 120. The volunteer said they would have been able to bring more boats to rescue the additional animals, disgusted with Miller’s alleged comment: “They’re going to drown anyway.”
Miller denies the remark.
An attorney for Miller issued a “cease and desist” order on the sheriff’s department and other individuals who had commented on Miller’s alleged failure to adequately care for and rescue the animals. At around the same time, Miller and Tschirgi launched a YouCaring crowdfunding page seeking $92,000.
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