In response to recent flooding in Oklahoma and Kansas, the American Humane Association and the Humane Society of the United States have sent emergency response teams to Miami, Okla., and Coffeyville, Kan., respectively, to work with local animal welfare organizations. The emergency responders are helping to rescue and care for pets displaced by the floods and are working with local animal shelters potentially threatened by rising flood waters.
In Miami, Okla., a 14-person team from the American Humane Association arrived over the Fourth of July holiday to help the local animal shelter care for cats and dogs dropped off by residents forced to evacuate their homes. Members of the AHA emergency response team are also planning rescues for cats and dogs currently stranded by the flood waters. The volunteers will use the resources provided by AHA’s 82-foot-long Disaster Response Rescue Rig, a customized tractor-trailer that contains boats, rescue equipment, living accommodations and enough supplies to support 15 rescue workers for 10 days.
“We were in close contact with the local authorities as the situation developed over the past several days,” says Marie Belew Wheatley, AHA president and CEO. “As soon as we were requested to provide assistance, our Red Star Animal Emergency Services responders mobilized from all parts of the country on very short notice.”
In Coffeyville, Kan., seven HSUS emergency responders helped local officials set up a temporary animal shelter in LeClere Park to house pets affected by flooding that forced more than 2,000 residents to evacuate their homes. Working with Code 3, an animal rescue group, HSUS disaster service workers have rescued 54 cats and dogs. A few of these animals have been reunited already with their owners.
“Disasters, by their nature, are unpredictable and often catch people unaware,” says Randy Covey, HSUS director of disaster services. “The best chance anyone has to protect pets and family in a disaster is to be as prepared as possible.”