WASHINGTON, D.C., May 28, 2019 – The American Humane Rescue team, first to serve in saving and sheltering animals for more than 100 years, has deployed with a veterinarian, trained swift and floodwater responders, rescue boats, critical medical and sheltering supplies, and one of its giant 50-foot animal rescue vehicles to save animals caught in the deadly Oklahoma floods.
The American Humane Rescue team responded at the official request of Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, and is now engaged in search-and-rescue and flood/slack water operations, assisting both companion animals and farm animals in need. The team has been navigating the floodwaters in the Muskogee area, saving multiple cats and dogs alongside the fire department and Code 3 Associates, Oklahoma Large Animal First Responders, Muskogee Animal Control and Sheltering, and the Humane Emergency Animal Response Team.
American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, has a long history of helping animals in Oklahoma. The group deployed following devastating flooding in Tulsa in 1984, a tornado outbreak in 1999, and the devastating 2013 EF-5 tornado in Moore, after which the team spent more than a month rescuing, sheltering, and reuniting hundreds of animals. On the third anniversary of the Moore tornado, American Humane, with funding from the Kirkpatrick Foundation and the Donner Foundation, placed a giant, new 50-foot animal emergency vehicle in Oklahoma City. That vehicle, which carries a contingent of highly trained rescue experts, boats, and lifesaving medical supplies donated by Zoetis Petcare.
As emergency responders continue to help people and animals, pet owners need to know that even though the storm has passed, the dangers have not. Here, for all those affected by the flooding, are some important tips from the experts on the American Humane Rescue team:
After the storm
- Make sure the storm has fully passed before going outside and assess damage before allowing children or animals out.
- Keep dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier, and children close at hand. Displaced objects and fallen trees can disorient pets and sharp debris could harm them.
- Give pets time to become re-oriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause a pet to become confused or lost.
- Keep kids and animals away from hazards such as downed power lines and water that may be contaminated.
- Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals, presenting new stresses and dangers. Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children or strangers. Animals need comforting, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their own home.
“Storms like these can be deadly for pets who are separated from their families,” said Robin Ganzert, PhD, president and CEO of American Humane. “It is important that every person and pet parent heed these lifesaving tips in the aftermath of this destructive storm. We are working to help all of our friends in Oklahoma to stay safe in this disaster.”
To support the American Humane Rescue team’s lifesaving work, please visit: www.AmericanHumane.org/oklahoma-rescue.
PHOTO CAPTION FOR ATTACHED PICTURE: “The American Humane Rescue team, Code 3 Associates, and firefighters from Webber’s Falls saving animals caught in the deadly Oklahoma floods”
PHOTO CREDIT: Joshua Morton for American Humane
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877, and the first to serve animals in disasters and cruelty cases. Visit American Humane at www.americanhumane.org today.
About the American Humane Rescue program
The American Humane Rescue program was created in 1916 at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War to save war horses wounded on the battlefields of World War I Europe. Since then, Red Star has been rescuing animals of every kind and have been involved in virtually every major disaster relief effort from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, the Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes, the Japanese and Haitian earthquakes, Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Maria and Michael, and the California wildfires. The American Humane Rescue team saved, sheltered and fed more than 600,000 animals in the past year alone.
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NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of Central Oklahoma Humane Society (OK Humane) in Oklahoma City, Okla., has dispatched its disaster response team to assist with shelter operations as the facility experiences an influx of animals affected by the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Okla. on May 20. The ASPCA and OK Humane are also coordinating the distribution of pet food to impacted areas.
The ASPCA has also enlisted the assistance of the following agencies for this joint disaster relief effort: IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) of Yarmouth Port, Mass.; Code 3 Associates Animal Disaster Response of Longmont, Colo.; and RedRover of Sacramento, Calif. Representatives from SAWA (Society of Animal Welfare Administrators) are also en route to Oklahoma Humane to lend their support.
Since the tornado, local animal control officers with the City of Oklahoma City have brought 110 lost, stray, injured or displaced pets to OK Humane where they are being assessed and cared for; that number could rise in the coming days. OK Humane has also reunited 46 pets so far with their families.
“OK Humane is very fortunate to have the ASPCA as a partner,” said Christy Counts, president and executive director of OK Humane. “We feel confident that with their assistance and support during this critical time, we will be able to provide excellent disaster response to this tragic situation.”
“We’re happy to lend a hand to Central Oklahoma Humane by providing staffing to handle the influx of animals affected by this disaster,” said Dick Green, director of disaster response for the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team. “Our goal is to help make sure things run smoothly, and to see that the animals are comfortable and find their way back to their families as soon as possible.”
“In the face of overwhelming loss, IFAW is proud to be there for families separated from their beloved pets during the tornado,” said Shannon Walajtys, IFAW manager for disaster response. “We are assigning teams to help care for animals at the shelter and assist with reunifications.”
“Code 3 Associates is helping to provide care and logistical support to the animals located at OK Humane’s dedicated animal housing facility,” said Eric Thompson, director of emergency services for Code 3. “We stand ready with additional staff and assets to provide further assistance should additional needs be identified.”
“We at RedRover are heartbroken about the devastation this tornado brought to Oklahoma. We will be assisting with the process to reunite people with their pets," said Beth Gammie, RedRover emergency services manager. "For families who have lost so much, knowing that their pets are safe means everything.”
For more information about how you can help the pets and people of Oklahoma, please visit OK Humane. Moore-area pet owners who are searching for a lost cat or dog, please visits www.okclostpets.com.
About Central Oklahoma Humane Society
The Central Oklahoma Humane Society was founded in 2007 and works in close partnership with the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division (OKC Animal Shelter). Its primary focus is to eliminate the needless euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals in Oklahoma City. Since its beginning in 2007, it has found homes for over 11,000 cats and dogs and spayed and neutered about 50,000 pets. For more information, please visit www.okhumane.org.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Code 3 Associates, Inc.
Code 3 Associates, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is dedicated to providing professional animal disaster response and resources to communities, as well as providing professional training to individuals and agencies involved in animal related law enforcement and emergency response. Our mission is accomplished through hands-on animal rescue and care operations during disaster events in the United States and Canada, and through our certified animal welfare training seminars which include animal cruelty training for investigators. For more information, please visit www.code3associates.org.
Founded in 1987, the mission of RedRover is to bring animals out of crisis and strengthen the bond between people and animals through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. RedRover accomplishes its mission by engaging volunteers and supporters, collaborating with others and maximizing the use of online technology. For more information, please visit www.redrover.org.
About Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA)
The Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) is a non-profit individual membership organization of international professionals in animal welfare, care & control, dedicated to the growth and prestige of our industry. SAWA strives to advocate humane ideals through professional advancement of members. Animal welfare leaders network with peers, establish mentor relationships, share best practices, form successful collaborations, and advance the field. For more information, visit www.sawanetwork.org.