On Friday, two volunteers with the rescue began a trip to the Northeast part of the country to deliver 24 cats and 23 dogs that were adopted.
Early Saturday morning the transport van was hit by a tractor-trailer in El Campo, Texas.
The two volunteers were hospitalized, the van was a total loss and as of Tuesday night, one dog and one cat have died.
“There’s no words. Those animals entrusted us to put them on that transport van. I’m just speechless,” Keri Morales said, a volunteer and foster for Rural TANK.
Rural TANK founder Kayla Denny was unfortunately out of the country and could not assist. Morales was one who immediately headed out there. She learned it was a dog she knew, Sweet Pea also known as Sandy Sue by her foster family, that was killed.
“She happened to be one of my dogs. And when I say my dogs, it was a dog that I brought into the rescue who is being fostered in loving homes out here on the island,” said Morales.
Immediately support from all over poured in to find the animals that spilled out of the transport van. Animal rescues surrounding El Campo were contacted to come in. Morales said volunteers and professional trappers came in from Houston, Wharton, and El campo. About 30 people from Corpus Christi made the trip to help.
Law enforcement was also helpful when it was discovered that one of the dogs, Knock, was stolen following the crash. Morales said the accused demanded a ransom, but law enforcement said they would get the dog back, and they did.
"The largest land owner for Wharton County had his airplane in the air doing flyovers looking for animals," Morales said. "We had trappers, we had search and rescue dogs, we had ATVs. The community there was amazing."
The majority of the animals have been found, but several are needing medical attention. Megan Arreguin is an animal rescuer from Victoria that was helping out.
“The people and animals involved, I knew instantly, it would be a critical case that needed much attention,” said Arreguin of the animal rescue Saving Animal Lives 24/7.
Three dogs are in vet care, needing immediate attention.
Lucky was found to have been vomiting blood. Snickers has a suspected broken pelvis. Knox, who was the dog that was taken and retrieved, has a broken back. Morales said the financial undertaking is a lot for Rural TANK.
Arreguin and her rescue had stepped up to begin handling the medical costs for the animals in the crash.
“Medical bills are going to be huge for these guys," she said. "The CT (scan) alone is a little over $1,000. And so, that’s just the CT (scan) and we have hospitalization care, x-rays…”
Saving Animal Lives 24/7 could use the community's help since they are a non-profit organization, Arreguin said.
If you’re someone who wants to help these animals, Arreguin strongly suggests calling the vet where the dogs currently are. It’s the Crossroads Veterinary Clinic in Victoria, Texas. The number is 361-575-3692. Arreguin said if you call, just mention that you want to donate to help the animals involved in the crash and they'll know what you're talking about.
There are eight cats still missing. One dog is also missing and was seen with a severed leg. Rescuers are still trying to catch and help the animal that will likely need an amputation, said Arreguin.
The two volunteers involved in the crash were released from the hospital. Morales said they are resting at a family member's house in Houston to remain close to the hospital.
If you would like to continue to support Saving Animal Lives 24/7 you can do so in a few ways.
The Paypal account is Savinganimallives247@yahoo.com. The Venmo handle is @savinganimallives24-7. If you use CashApp you can find them at $Savinganimallives247. Or if you're old-fashioned, you can mail a check to PO Box 311 Bloomington, Texas 77951.