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 spent the day navigating the floodwaters in the Muskogee area yesterday, 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.