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."