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.
NO PET LEFT BEHIND
NAT GEO WILD’S NEW SERIES ANIMAL STORM SQUAD
IS ON A MISSION TO SAVE ANIMALS CAUGHT
IN NATURAL DISASTERS
In the Wake of Nature’s Fury, an Expert Team of First Responders
Fights to Save Animals’ Lives
Animal Storm Squad Premieres Friday, March 11, at 10/9c on Nat Geo WILD
(PASADENA, CA — Jan. 6, 2016) If a natural disaster strikes, what will happen to your pet? Every year, thousands of animals are injured, trapped or displaced as a result of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Traditional first responders are not equipped to assist animals, leaving them helpless in the wake of catastrophe.
Nat Geo WILD’s new series Animal Storm Squad follows a team of dedicated meteorologists, storm chasers, animal experts and emergency personnel who have banded together to form the ultimate first responder squad to rescue trapped and injured animals. Animal Storm Squad premieres Friday, March 11, at 10/9c on Nat Geo WILD and globally in 131 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit our press website at www.foxflash.com, or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.
“What’s incredible about this show is that the team doesn’t just wait for disaster to strike, they actively pursue storms so that they will be on the ground when they hit,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager, Nat Geo WILD. “They know the local first responders aren’t equipped to help animals, so they’ve stepped up to fill a need and reunite families.”
Led by Karissa Hadden, a veterinary assistant and founder of an animal rescue charity, each episode of Animal Storm Squad follows the team as it prepares for a mission into a disaster zone. It is a 24/7, 365-day pursuit that has them crisscrossing the country, trying to stay one step ahead of catastrophe. Battling their way through ferocious weather, downed trees and damaged roads, they find the animals that Mother Nature left behind.
“If I wasn’t able to help my own animals, I would hope that somebody would care enough to help me,” said Hadden. “That’s why I do everything I can to make sure that no creature is left behind.”
SEASON 1 RESCUES INCLUDE:
- WILDFIRE: Wenatchee, Washington: Seven animals rescued during the largest wildfire in the state’s history
- TORNADO: Van, Texas: Eleven animals helped after a powerful EF3 tornado
- FLOOD: San Marco, Texas: Ten animals helped after dangerous flooding
- WILDFIRE: Middletown, California: Eight animals helped after a devastating wildfire
- FLOOD: Andrews, South Carolina: Eight animals helped after a flood rendered the state a disaster zone
Trial by Fire
Premieres Friday, March 11, 10/9c
The team rushes to rescue lost and displaced animals in central Washington state, which is in chaos after a wildfire grows to more than 200,000 acres. The team battles dangerous conditions and poor air quality to find a mother cat and her two kittens abandoned and hiding underneath a deck. With no immediate access to the enclosed space, will the team find a way to get the cats to safety? A black bear cub is on the loose and the team jumps into hot pursuit. Then two escaped horses make a run for it, and the team devises a plan to get them home.
Premieres Friday, March 18, 10/9c
The Animal Storm Squad hurries to Van, Texas, after a powerful EF3 tornado rips through the town, leveling everything in its path. The team faces its first challenge immediately upon arriving in town: five cats that are trapped under a house. It’s a dangerous situation for everyone involved because the house is unstable and could collapse at any moment. Karissa leads a heroic effort to save a horse injured in the storm, and the team reunites families with their furry loved ones.
Premieres Friday, March 25, 10/9c
The Animal Storm Squad races to Middleton California where a devastating wildfire scorches the countryside, destroying homes and displacing families. Karissa leads the team through the fury of one of the worst wildfires in state history, rescuing everything from gravely injured cats to abandoned dogs.
Meet the Team
Karissa Hadden is a veterinary assistant from Canada who founded the charity Never Stop Saving Animal Disaster Rescue Transport. She was inspired to do something after trying to help some kittens that were ultimately lost in the EF5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, in May 2013. Karissa has degrees in human resource management and public communications from Stratford College in Ontario, Canada. She has also finished courses in swift water rescue, confined spaces awareness, hazmat and search and rescue. Hadden is Animal Storm Squad’steam leader in caring for and transporting each rescued pet to safety and on to its owners.
Erik Fox is the team’s weather forecaster who provides up-to-date, real-time weather information. He is also a trained firefighter and retired Army sergeant who served the United States for 14 years.
Leigh Ann Bennett is a physician’s assistant who helps triage and care for the rescued animals. She is a trained trauma nurse who brings more than 15 years of experience to the team.
Dustin Feldman is a wildlife management expert, a wilderness EMT and a field medic. Previously a rescue boat captain, firefighter and storm chaser, Dustin is the man you want by your side in an emergency.
Animal Storm Squad is produced by BCII for Nat Geo WILD. BCII executive producer is Bud Brutsman. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer is Ashley Hoppin, senior vice president of development and production is Janet Han Vissering and executive vice president and general manager is Geoff Daniels.
LET THE TORNADO COME
By Rita Zoey Chin
Simon & Schuster | Hardcover | June 24, 2014 | $25.00
“[A] lyrical debut … Chin deftly creates the palimpsest of [her] stories, past and present, in this candid, graceful testimony to remarkable resilience.” —Kirkus Reviews
“At the heart of this brave, beautiful memoir is an extraordinary tale of hard-earned compassion and love. Despite all odds, some of the most broken down souls, human and animal alike, can not only heal but can take wing and soar. Rita Zoey Chin offers us her unforgettable story with richly textured, luminous prose—I fell in love with her book from the very first line.”
—Mira Bartók, bestselling author of The Memory Palace
"Unbearably beautiful and unflinching, Rita Zoey Chin’s Let the Tornado Come is a brilliant portrait of a life skirting the precipice. She has captured masterfully the maelstrom of her years as a runaway, a wife, a sister, a rider, a searcher. But what shines, page after page, is her resilience, in how every day is built. This is a story full of lightning—sudden, intimate, radiant."
—Paul Yoon, bestselling author of Snow Hunters
“Let the Tornado Come is as riveting as it sounds. In lyrical yet clear-eyed prose, with a gentleness and humility that belie a fierce inner strength, Rita Zoey Chin illuminates the debilitating consequences of childhood abuse and her search for its antidote. At once heartbreaking and heartening, compassionate and wise, Let the Tornado Come is a story about love—its unmatched enormity, its curative power, its reverberating force that, though not dissimilar to the tremors of fear in our heart, can carry us to a place where we are cherished, and in turn, learn to cherish the life in our care.”
—Vaddey Ratner, bestselling author of In the Shadow of the Banyan
Rita Zoey Chin was born into a world that roared: a Queens apartment near JFK Airport where the power of the planes that rattled the walls was matched only by the power of her neglectful parents whose violence and out-of-control nature left her with no choice but to run away. Today, Rita is no longer a girl without a home but instead a successful writer and the wife of a promising surgeon. How did she go from hitting rock-bottom to creating a meaningful life for herself? In LET THE TORNADO COME: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster; Hardcover; June 24, 2014; $25.00), Rita candidly shares how she found happiness after her tumultuous upbringing, the debilitating panic attacks that threatened to take it all away in her thirties, and the beacon of light that reassured her that she’d survive once more: her horse, Claret.
Rita first ran at age eleven. In the years that followed, where she was headed wasn’t something she knew until she was already on the move: sometimes a friend’s house, sometimes a hidden stairwell off an alleyway, sometimes strangers’ beds. By thirteen, she was out of the house for good and soon found herself a ward of the court, being sent from one institution to another and running away from most, back to the streets and an adult world of drugs and sex that threatened to consume her. At nineteen, after a three-month-long cocaine addiction, she finally hit rock bottom. Realizing she had to turn her life around or else, she called upon one of her few cherished childhood memories: a herd of horses galloping across a field, beautiful and free. The sound of their hooves hitting the ground never left her and came to represent hope as she began piecing her life back together; the horses comforted her the same way they did whenever her mother kicked her out of the house or her father raised his hand, even during those long, crazy nights spend on the run. Little did she know then just how important her connection with horses would be in the years to come.
Fast-forward just over a decade, and Chin is no longer a girl without a home but instead a prize-winning poet and happily married; she loves her life and is proud of what she’s accomplished since her years as a runaway. Without any warning, however, her life is turned upside-down when she is besieged by terrifying panic attacks that worsen with every passing moment. Within weeks, she is incapacitated with fear—literally afraid of her own shadow. Realizing her hard-won happiness is in jeopardy if she doesn’t seek help, she turns to a variety of treatments to help ease her anxiety. Eventually, she finds an emotional pillar in Norm, the first therapist to reassure her that the events of her childhood were not her fault.As he helps her through her panic attacks in a way no conventional therapy or doctor (including her husband) had prior, Rita simultaneously finds solace in an unexpected friendship with another troubled soul: a spirited, endearing horse named Claret. “The first time I saw Claret, I fell in love,” she fondly remembers. Taking into account her past experiences and calling upon all she had learned about anxiety from Norm, Rita formed a bond with the rebellious, agitated Claret that those around her thought impossible. “In the end, we saved each other,” she says.
A riveting memoir that reads like a novel, in LET THE TORNADO COME Rita shares how she applied the hard lessons learned during her tumultuous childhood and adolescence to save the beautiful life she created for herself in adulthood with prose so vivid and raw they could only be written by a true survivor.
About the Author
Rita Zoey Chin’s writing has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, The Rumpus, Freerange Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Maryland and now lives in Boston with her husband, where she teaches at Grub Street, mentors teenage girls, and rides her mischievous horse, Claret.
About the Book
LET THE TORNADO COME: A Memoir
By Rita Zoey Chin
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
ISBN: 9781476734866 | E-Book ISBN: 9781476734880
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.