Chemical companies have already released 1 million pounds of extra air pollutants, thanks to Harvey

Source:  The Washington Post

A refinery in East Houston on Wednesday. Hurricane Harvey pushed thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Oil refineries and chemical plants across the Texas Gulf Coast released more than 1 million pounds of dangerous air pollutants in the week after Harvey struck, according to public regulatory filings aggregated by the Center for Biological Diversity.

While attention has zeroed in on the crisis at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Tex., other facilities — oil refineries, chemical plants and shale drilling sites — have been reporting flaring, leaks and chemical discharges triggered by Harvey.

Emissions have already exceeded permitted levels, after floating rooftops sank on oil storage tanks, chemical storage tanks overflowed with rainwater, and broken valves and shutdown procedures triggered flaring at refineries.

The chemicals released in the week after Harvey made landfall, including benzene, 1,3-butadiene, hexane, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, toluene and xylene.

All seven chemicals are toxic air pollutants documented to harm human health; several cause cancer. Other emissions would bring the total to more than 5 million pounds, the Center for Biological Diversity said.

Read the rest of this article HERE.


Horse Owners, Rescuers Surveying Harvey’s Impact


Evacuated horses are still being housed in safe locations away from the flood waters.  Photo: Courtesy Jerry Finch

by Pat Raia

While rains associated with Hurricane Harvey have ceased, flooding continues to challenge horse owners in and around Houston and Galveston, Texas. Meanwhile Louisiana horse owners are preparing to cope with the storm’s slow northeastward trek.

Last week Hurricane Harvey stalled in Texas dousing Corpus Christi, Houston, and Galveston with more than 50 inches of rain that overflowed rivers and creeks and flooded cities and surrounding areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Some owners evacuated horses before the storm inundated their homes, but even those on higher ground are facing challenges, said Jerry Finch, of Habitat for Horses, near Galveston. In addition to its own horses, is Habitat for Horses is housing some horses evacuated from flood zones.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Animal Emergency Preparedness for those in the path of Hurricane Harvey

This probably isn’t your first rodeo, but we’re still going to post this for our friends in the path of floods and high winds. – Debbie


Texans Should Prepare for Flooding, High Winds from Harvey

With the probability of extensive rain and high winds throughout much of the state from the resurgence of Hurricane Harvey, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts are asking Texans to take measures to prepare their houses, farms, and ranches for what could come.

“We’re expecting Harvey to bring a lot of rain and flooding over a large area of the state and as he intensifies, some strong winds as well,” said Andy Vestal, MEd, PhD, AgriLife Extension specialist in emergency management, in College Station. “The storm system may also spur tornadic activity.” Vestal said people in both urban and rural areas of the state should take steps to prepare for what could come from this storm system to minimize damage and reduce the impact of its aftermath.

He said the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (Texas EDEN) at has a variety of materials on disaster preparation and recovery.

Vestal said to avoid being trapped by a flood, it’s best to evacuate before flooding starts.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Hundreds of Wild Horses to be Relocated from Louisiana Military Base to Dallas TX Area for Adoption

Caleb Downs, Breaking News reporter as published on The Dallas News

Hundreds of wild horses from a military base in Louisiana are being relocated to North Texas in an effort to find them new owners.

fort-polk-horsesThe operation is being managed by the Humane Society of North Texas, according to KXAS-TV (NBC 5). It is moving the herd of nearly 400 horses from the Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center in Vernon Parish, La., to the Humane Society’s location in Decatur.

“It’s an honor to work with the Army and be a part of this,” said Sandy Shelby, the Humane Society of North Texas’ executive director. “It is kind of historic.”

Army officials said there were previously around 700 horses and donkeys living on and around Fort Polk, but many of the donkeys were stolen, according to the Humane Society of North Texas.

Shelby said the horses are well-known in Vernon Parish and are referred to as “trespass horses.”

The army decided to move them because they were too close to the military base and all the weaponry contained within it, which wasn’t safe for the horses or military staff.

Many advocates have argued that the horses should have been left alone, but “kill buyers” were offering to purchase the horses and ship them to Mexico to sell their meat.

The Humane Society then stepped in to relocate the horses for adoption, Shelby said.

The Humane Society of North Texas will move the horses in groups of about 50 at a time for the next two years until all have been relocated, according to NBC 5.

The first 50 have already been moved. They’ve had little human interaction, and volunteers with the Humane Society said they need special homes.

“Whoever comes in that wants to get involved in this does need to be an experienced horse person,” Shelby said. “We’ll keep [the horses] as long as we need to until every last one of them gets a home.”

The Humane Society says the relocation effort will cost about $50,000. It is asking anyone who can’t adopt a horse to make a donation to help feed and house a horse while it waits to be adopted.

Texas’ Laughing Horse Ranch not Laughing: Underwater, AGAIN

by R.T. Fitch, president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“We rescued the horses from the lower pastures before the water swallowed everything…”


IMG_587212+ inches of rain in only a few hours and our rescued horses, cats, dog, Terry and I are huddled together on top of our little hill with the water actually lapping at the doors of our barn and house.

We have been here for ten years and have never seen anything like this, it eclipses the flood of last month and the water has not stopped rising.

Our concern goes out to Marjoree Farabee and her hundreds of rescued donkeys, burros, mules and horses.

More news as time permits.

Keep the Faith


Dying Vietnam Vet Asks for Final Meeting with Beloved Horses Outside Hospital

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes…”

Photo: (Lupe Hernandez, South Texas Veterans Health Care System)

Photo: (Lupe Hernandez, South Texas Veterans Health Care System)

Vietnam veteran Roberto Gonzalez’s final wish was granted Saturday when he was reunited with his beloved horses — Ringo and Sugar — outside of a Texas VA hospital.

Gonzalez, of Premont, Texas, who was shot and paralyzed during the war, was wheeled outside the front doors of Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital in San Antonio where he was greeted by the horses he had raised for decades, reported.

Gonzalez, who was one of the hospital’s first patients when it opened in 1974, had asked his family to see his horses one last time. The family passed along the request to hospital staff who gladly obliged. Ringo and Sugar then made the 150-mile trip to the hospital to see him.

“Horses are his life,” his wife, Rosario Gonzalez, told KABB. “We’ve been training and raising horses for 30, 40 years.”

The South Texas Veterans Health Care System posted a photo of the meeting on its Facebook page on Sunday, calling Gonzalez a great American and identifying him as one of the first patients at the hospital.

“A heartfelt Thank you, to all at Audie L. Murphy V A Hospital,” Rosario Gonzalez posted in response. “A special thank you to the spinal cord staff, all of you became a part of our family.

“The care you have been giving my husband and to me goes above and beyond,” she wrote. “You are our angels God Bless you all.”

Gonzalez reportedly learned that his kidneys and liver were failing when he recently visited the hospital for a back wound.

“He never let his injuries slow him down. He loved horses, he loved cattle, he loved ranching and farming. He was proud to serve his country,” Rosario Gonzalez told ABC affiliate KSAT.

Gonzalez’s May 21 visit with the horses came 46 years to the day after he was wounded in Vietnam. His wife told local media stations that her husband was one of the only licensed, handicapped horse trainers in Texas.

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes. They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him,” Gonzalez told

Feel Good Sunday: A Man, His Donkey and the Open Road

story by Jobin Panicker, WFAA

“We just wander around like stray dogs. Sometimes he wants to go south because it’s too cold,”

GRANBURY, Texas — Charlie Hill wouldn’t say he’s homeless, but rather, a man who is free and on an adventure.

He gets to see Texas at his donkey’s pace.

“He’s in charge of this expedition… He sure is,” Hill said of his 9-year-old donkey named Smokey.

There is no hurry to where they are going. News 8 caught up with them as they finally decided to rest up in Granbury.

“We just wander around like stray dogs. Sometimes he wants to go south because it’s too cold,” Charlie laughed.

It is a life Charlie decided to have on a whim 12 years ago. He told News 8 that he was done with the hustle and bustle of life and work where he says he was once a captain in commercial shipping.

He says he also got tired of depending on others. So, he now has a 9-year-old stubborn donkey with an odd craving for Coca-Cola.

“He’s family,” Charlie said. “I don’t have any other family.”

Now, Smokey is practically a celebrity wherever they go. There are always vehicles pulling up on the side of the road, wanting pictures of the pair.

“It was just great to see a guy that’s going about his way,” said one on-looker.

“I just wanted to share a story that happened to me. I hoped it would speak to somebody,” Cook said.

And it did — the post has more than 4,000 Facebook shares.

Charlie and Smokey are living off what they get from stranger’s kindness. Charlie tells News 8 that after passing through our neck of the woods, they’re off to the Red River counties.

Horse owners invited to participate in Texas equine study


Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259,

Contact: Dr. James Heird, 979-845-0511,

Dr. Rebekka Dudensing, 979-845-1719,

COLLEGE STATION –Texas horse owners are invited to participate in a study of the Texas equine industry.

photo by Terry Fitch“The purpose of this study is to gather information about respondents’ horses and facilities, demographics, participation in the industry, horse-related expenditures and economic impacts,” said Dr. James Heird, executive professor and coordinator of the equine initiative at Texas A&M University in College Station. “Results of this study will be used by industry representatives, the Texas Department of Agriculture and other policy makers to respond to current needs of the state’s horse owners and related businesses.”

The study asks about horse ownership, participation in horse-related activities, boarding facilities, and horse-related expenditures. Owners of businesses that serve horse owners, such as feed stores, training facilities, farriers, and veterinarians, are also invited to participate in the survey.

The online survey can be accessed from the link:

The survey will remain open through May 1. Survey participants must be at least 18 years old. The Texas Department of Agriculture along with industry professionals are sponsoring the study through the Texas A&M Equine Initiative to identify trends and issues in the Texas equine industry and to document the industry’s contribution to the state economy.

Studies by other researchers in 1998 and 2005 found that Texas was home to more horses than any other U.S. state and the horse industry was an important contributor to the state’s economy.

The current study will reflect changes within the industry and the statewide economy over the past 20 years.

Heird said a 2005 American Horse Council Foundation study found that Texas ranked No. 1 among U.S. states in the number of horses and that the Texas horse industry had a direct economic impact of $3 billion and an overall economic impact of $5.2 billion.

A comprehensive economic impact study on Texas’ equine industry has not been done since 2005, prompting a new survey to collect the most recent information, according to survey organizers.

Feel Good Sunday: Donkey Helps Find Flying iPhone

After Ben Wilson’s iPhone fell out of the plane he was piloting at 9,300 feet in the air, he assumed he’d never see the device again. But he tracked the device to a pasture 90 miles away, and found it in perfect working condition … with the help of a donkey.

Wilson, the owner of natural-gas equipment company Gas Corporation of America, didn’t intend to test the durability of his iPhone or protective case. He was flying his Beechcraft Bonanza single-engine plane from Houston to his home in Wichita Falls, Texas, this week when his door suddenly opened about three inches mid-flight.

“That’ll wake you up,” Wilson, 74, said dryly in an interview with NBC News conducted via the fallen iPhone on Friday. “My Wall Street Journal got sucked out of the plane, and I just kept flying because we were close to home.”

Once he’d landed safely in Wichita Falls, Wilson realized his iPhone was missing too. It must have been wrapped in the Journal, he reasoned, and he assumed the device was simply gone. The Wichita Falls Times Record first reported Wilson’s story.

But Wilson’s stepson, John Kidwell — who is also the vice president of sales at Gas Corp. — pulled up the “Find My iPhone” app on his own phone and was amazed to see Wilson’s device pop up on a map. The iPhone was sitting somewhere in tiny Joplin, Texas.

Determined to retrieve Wilson’s iPhone — along with 250 contact numbers and 1,000 photos he didn’t want to lose — Wilson and Kidwell got in the car the next morning and drove the 90 miles from Wichita Falls to Joplin. Kidwell traced the signal to a fenced-in pasture, and the hunt began.

“I climbed the fence and this donkey trotted up to me and looked me right in the eyes,” Wilson said. “He would not leave our sides. I think he was trying to help us find the phone.”

The iPhone was sitting in plain sight in the pasture, nestled in thick grass below a mesquite tree that Wilson believes helped cushion the device’s long fall.

“I said, ‘You pick that phone up before that donkey steps on it!'” Kidwell said. “Can you imagine if it survived a 9,300-foot drop just to get stepped on by some donkey?”

Incredibly, the phone was in perfect working order with only a few scratches on the corners. The screen was intact, the phone still made calls and all other features worked as usual. Wilson had encased the iPhone in a protective case with an external battery pack, which was the only piece that snapped off in the fall and couldn’t be found.

Wilson is “amazed” his iPhone is working fine after the 9,300-foot plunge, which he and Kidwell verified by checking his altitude over Joplin via the flight-tracking site FlightAware. He’s happy to have his phone and his irreplaceable photos back in hand, but he’s most happy to have met that strange, friendly donkey.

“I didn’t get to talk to the ranch owner, but I want to send him a newspaper clip and tell him I’d want to adopt the donkey. He was a hoot,” Wilson said. “We made a new friend and I got my phone back. Everything turned out real well.”

New Animal Cruelty Charges for Conroe TX Horse Farm Owners

ABC 13 Houston

New charges have been filed against a Conroe farm owner accused of neglecting more than 200 horses.

Herman Hoffman and his wife, Kathleen Hoffman, face 17 new counts of animal cruelty. He also is charged with one count of tampering.

The Hoffmans already were charged with three counts of animal cruelty after Montgomery County investigators seized more than 200 horses from the Calico Diary farm last month. Authorities claimed the animals appeared to be starved and neglected.

Bond was set for $12,750 for each of the new misdemeanors and $10,000 for the felony tampering charge.

The two turned themselves into authorities Friday afternoon.

(Footnote: The couple want their seized horses back)