SIOUX CITY — Sitting on Ashley Jones' lap, Minnie shivered slightly. Her big, round eyes displayed maybe a little fright, or perhaps the little Chihuahua mix was just overwhelmed.
Minnie has had a tough few months, capped off with a move to the Siouxland Humane Society, where she and a dozen other dogs arrived Jan. 5 from an overcrowded Texas animal shelter.
Of the 13 dogs, 11 found new homes with Siouxland owners within four days. Minnie and a female border collie named Raven still remained as of Jan. 11.
"We had a real excellent weekend. A lot of them got to go home," said Kelly Erie, Siouxland Humane Society public relations and volunteer manager.
Since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in late August, leading to widespread flooding that lasted into September, animal shelters there have become overcrowded with dogs that have been abandoned, unclaimed or surrendered by owners unable to care for them while recovering from the disaster. Animal shelters and rescue groups throughout the country have taken in hundreds of those dogs and found homes for them in their local communities.
The dogs that arrived at the Sioux City shelter had already been waiting for adoption when Hurricane Harvey hit. Since then, their shelter had filled up with dogs left without homes because of the flooding.
"What a lot of people don't realize is the flood might be past, but they're still dealing with a lot of pets left," Erie said.
Siouxland Humane Society has had a low number of dogs available for adoption, so officials decided to take in some of the Texas dogs. Approximately 15 more are expected to arrive later this month.
"We aren't seeing a lot of dogs right now," Erie said. "If we did have a large abundance of dogs, we definitely wouldn't be bringing more in."
After seeing a Facebook post about the dogs' arrival, Jones said she wanted to see if one of them would be a good fit for her North Sioux City family and their dog. They've come to the Humane Society on other occasions when it received dogs transported from other states because of overcrowding.
"We've always been attracted to these dogs. They always seem more timid and scared, so if I can make one feel happy, that would be great," said Jones, who cradled Minnie in her lap before letting her meet her 10-month old daughter, Mileona Jefferson.
Erie said the Humane Society has taken in pets from other states experiencing surpluses in the past, and other area shelters have, too.
"We're all in it to help the animals," she said.
Officials at Sioux City's two other animal shelters — Noah's Hope and Sioux City Animal Adoption and Rescue Center — said they currently focus on finding homes for local pets, but Noah's Hope has taken in surplus animals from other states in the past.
When accepting dogs from another state, Erie said the Humane Society will choose breeds it either doesn't have or has very few of. Before being transported to Sioux City by rescue agencies, veterinarians examine the dogs, and the Humane Society is provided health information for each animal.
When news gets out about displaced or abused animals being available for adoption, shelters will often see an influx of animal lovers who want to give them a new home. It's great for those animals, Erie said, but also for animals that have been at the shelter for a longer time. Shelter volunteers always encourage visitors to see all the animals available for adoption, not just those that were featured in a news story or on a social media site.
"I encourage them to look at the other dogs. I don't want anyone being left," Erie said.